In the last few years The Gaslight Anthem have been wheedling their way into people’s hearts with their big choruses and Springsteen tinged rock and roll. Therefore, it’s not really a surprise that there has been a slight cash in on this popularity with the release of The B Sides a collection of, unsurprisingly, B sides. The question then has to be asked whether this is worthy of inclusion in the Gaslight discography, or like many before them should this be a collection of B side that should have stayed in the vault.
The only original song on the album kicks us off with “She Loves” being a slow rhythmic bluesy track that displays a lot of the sound that The Gaslight Anthem have been honing on their studio releases. It’s probably one of the highlights of the album, but even so it does feel like it never quite clicks into top gear, instead happy to trudge along at it’s own pace. From there on we have a selection of acoustic reworking’s with the likes of “The ’59 Sound” and “Great Expectations” sounding good in this stripped back form, but never really blowing your mind. More interesting is “The Queen of Lower Chelsea” which really revels in this style and the complete reworking of “Boxer”, which along with a few other tracks on this album sounds like it was recorded in a cave, and adds a whole assortment of effects and ideas to a song that probably doesn’t need them.
The rest of the album is dominated by a selection of by the numbers covers which fail to spark any excitement. The likes of Fake Problems “Songs for Teenagers” sound good under the Gaslight umbrella and in many ways is a textbook track from a band that have long revelled in this lyrical nature, but they never sparkle or even make you consider giving up the original for this new take. Sadly that’s the attitude that pretty much sums up this album. Is it bad? Nah, I quite like a few of these acoustic re-workings and I don’t really hate any of it. Is it worth your money? Probably not. There is nothing here to blow your mind and nothing really betters or even equals the original. If for some reason you can’t bare to have that gap in your Gaslight collection you might want to pick this up, otherwise I don’t think you should worry about giving it a miss.
For Fans Of: Bruce Springsteen, Deaf Havana
Choice Cuts: Queen of Lower Chelsea, She Loves You