The long anticipated album by The Gaslight Anthem, Get Hurt, began streaming today on First Play via iTunes radio, in anticipation for its release Aug. 12 as announced on the band's Facebook page. Citing Pearl Jam's, No Code, as their main influence for the album, and calling it "the weird album coming up," the latest release is full of interesting and refreshing change. Lead singer Brian Fallon told Rolling Stone in May that the record was, "completely different than anything we had ever done before. Instead of going that extra step of just adding some organ or some background vocals, this time we actually really changed up a lot of the sounds."
Their previous album, Handwritten, was their major label debut, having left SideOneDummy out of necessity for the trajectory of their career. It featured a much harder sound than American Slang, or The '59 Sound, which featured a rather Springstein-esque style, and a pop-rock vibe respectively. Naturally, Get Hurt follows the progression of departing from previous sounds by removing itself from anything you've expected from the band at all.
As a single, "Get Hurt" introduced audiences to what the album would encapsulate; a style much more driven by sequencers and synth with enough of the band's characteristic Jersey-rock personality to keep it a Gaslight record. From the first track, "Stay Vicious," now available as a single on iTunes, the full-length makes it clear that you're in for a different kind of ride than we're used to.
Even the changeover from The '59 Sound to American Slang to finally Handwritten was a fairly smooth transition. The group started getting edgier, harder, and louder as time went by. With this new one, they've attempted to whet the appetite of their fans by introducing them to something that is almost completely unbecoming of the group given their history, and have done so successfully. It's definitely akin to No Code, but it's also definitely a Gaslight album. Fallon's distinct singing voice matches perfectly with the somewhat softer, somewhat disparate sounds that are produced here. It's a refreshing change of pace to see a group of musicians so radically experiment with something brand new, especially when they're three albums in as it is, rather than give us a rehash of the same old.
"Underneath The Ground" is one such track that comparatively shows how drastically Get Hurt is. The guitars perform in an almost indie fashion, playing soft, high up with no shortage of harmonics and spine-tingling fretwork. For the life of his career, Fallon has spent the majority of their songs straining his voice to fantastic effect, save for the few songs like "Blue Jeans And White T-Shirts." Songs like this represent how dynamic even a rock group like Gaslight can get. "Rollin' And Tumblin'" immediately follows up, bringing back the rock 'n' roll influence that they're known for, with an experimental mix of effects that we've seldom heard from them in the past.
On its face, Get Hurt is more than worth a listen, and definitely exciting enough for a pre-order. If you had to summarize it, it's a mix of the classic Jersey influences that have brought the band their uniqueness in tone and scope, and an experimentation with synth and effects that brings that influence into focus. Up to the always-emotionally driven and impassioned final track, it's an album you can stand to sit and listen to all the way through and then immediately put on repeat. Most definitely not something you would ever have expected from The Gaslight Anthem, but certainly the kind of thing they, and the fans, needed.