The Gaslight Anthem - Get Hurt
After four albums spent honing their tribute to Bruce Springsteen, it comes as no surprise that Get Hurt sees The Gaslight Anthem finally spread their sonic wings a little. The changes aren't radical; indeed, the tonal shift is hesitant and incomplete, as if Brian Fallon and his colleagues changed their minds half way through recording, which leaves the album a game of two halves. On one side are those tracks which could easily slot into the running order of any previous GA albums; on the other are a few heavier rock numbers, an uneasy mix that has a sniff of Arctic Monkeys' new-found metallic paint job.
That the band have turned to producer Mike Crossey for this new approach is an interesting one. Crossey's career has been almost exclusively with British bands (early Arctic Monkeys, The View, The 1975, Jake Bugg) yet he oversees this most American of bands as they try to weld heavy metal to their blue collar anthems. Sometimes, as on lead track 'Stay Vicious' and '1000 Years', these riffs seem unwieldy - almost bolted on - as the core of the songs don't stray much from the trademark Gaslight Anthem sound. At other times - 'Stray Paper', 'Ain't That A Shame' - the material veers dangerously close to the kind of 80s AOR that made Bryan Adams his millions. Get Hurt works best when they sound most like themselves: 'Rollin' and Tumblin' will get crowds moving; 'Red Violins' the kind of campfire tale they can pull out almost without effort, but overall this is a fairly conservative effort when all the pre-album talk was about "nothing being off limits."