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The Gaslight Anthem - History Books (Album Review)

Monday, 30 October 2023 Written by Adam England

Photo: Casey McAllister

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Almost a decade on from the release of their last studio album, The Gaslight Anthem are back with ‘History Books’. 

Between the New Jersey punk ‘n’ rollers announcing their hiatus in 2015 and revealing their return last March they reunited just once – for some shows celebrating the 10th anniversary of their breakout 2008 album ‘The ‘59 Sound’ – and time has inevitably weathered them. 

This is an older, more mellow Gaslight Anthem. That’s unsurprising. After all, three-quarters of the band have hit 40 since we last heard from them.

It would be a push to call most of the album punk, but it fits firmly into the heartland rock canon that has always run in parallel in their sound. 

And that’s not just because Bruce Springsteen is involved on the title track. It flows on nicely from opener Spider Bites, but it isn’t the emphatic showstopper you might expect from a Springsteen collab. 

On the whole, the first half of the album threatens to blend together. The band really come into their own from Michigan, 1975 onwards, with this pretty track serving as the perfect precursor to the singalong Little Fires.

One thing on its side is that ‘History Books’ is being released at the right time. It’s very autumnal in tone – yes, particularly the track Autumn – and a perfect match for the colder weather and darker nights. It’s not the band’s best work, but it gets more interesting over time. 

The Gaslight Anthem Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon March 18 2024 - GLASGOW O2 Academy Glasgow
Tue March 19 2024 - EDINBURGH O2 Academy Edinburgh
Thu March 21 2024 - SHEFFIELD O2 Academy Sheffield
Fri March 22 2024 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Sat March 23 2024 - WOLVERHAMPTON Civic at the Halls
Mon March 25 2024 - LONDON Roundhouse
Tue March 26 2024 - LONDON Roundhouse
Wed March 27 2024 - LONDON Roundhouse
Fri March 29 2024 - DUBLIN 3Olympia Theatre
Sat March 30 2024 - DUBLIN 3Olympia Theatre
Wed July 10 2024 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Thu July 11 2024 - CHELTENHAM Upcote Farm

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