The title track and first single to be taken from The Gaslight Anthem's anticipated third album American Slang shows that little has changed for the boys from Jersey.
It's perhaps unsurprising that the sound the band has crafted over the last two years remains intact; it has garnered a growing international audience and attention from the likes of Bruce Springsteen. Menacing drums and guitars burst into a melody reminiscent of The Replacements within the first 15 seconds of the track. From that point on it rattles on at a pretty frantic pace with memorable hooks and riffs.
Other material on the new album may be a little more adventurous, but it's good to hear a band that is comfortable with taking time to expand its horizons. As always the upbeat tempo is offset by Brian Fallon's lyrical content. Themes of isolation and regret prevail: "The bandages just don't keep me in. And when it was over, I woke up alone". There's also the shadow of death lingering in the imagery of angels and demons that Fallon conjures up; it's a far cry from the stadium-friendly atmosphere the instruments are creating behind his world-weary voice.
Intelligent and confident in their return, The Gaslight Anthem may be serving us more of the same, but in no way is it unsatisfying. 'American Slang' proves the quality of 2008's The '59 Sound wasn't a fluke, and for once you'll be relieved that you're not disappointed with the material that follows a critically acclaimed album.