With their hearts on their sleeves and their feet planted firmly in the garden state, the Gaslight Anthem’s third album, American Slang, plays out like an offering to Springsteen, the patron saint of heartland rock. The feeling on this album is considerably more relaxed. All of the punk rock tension and urgency have been replaced by a more patient and heartfelt mood. This change of pace really gives the listener the ability to sit back and take in the scenery on their musical Rust Belt road trip, making for a more moody, understated experience. There are still a few uptempo rockers on the album, with “Stay Lucky” and “The Spirit of Jazz” bringing back some of the speed that old fans might be used to. The rest of the album works in more of a midtempo space, giving singer Brian Fallon’s weathered voice room to work, allowing him to really dig in and make the best use of the laid-back melody on “Bring It On” and the spaciousness of “We Did It When We Were Young.” The prevailing feeling throughout this album is that American Slang represents a more mature sound from the Gaslight Anthem, showing us a band that has grown up enough to start attempting to fill the shoes of their influences.
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney