The Gaslight Anthem - Sink or Swim (Cover Artwork)

The Gaslight Anthem

The Gaslight Anthem: Sink or SwimSink or Swim (2007)
XOXO Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: sickboiChris
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I don't know about you, but a lot of my friends don't share the same musical tastes as me. Now, I don't mean this in the sense of "Joe only listens to hardcore" or "Bob will only rock out to skatepunk," but I have a lot of friends that like classic rock, metal, hip-hop and even the latest scourge pl.
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I don't know about you, but a lot of my friends don't share the same musical tastes as me. Now, I don't mean this in the sense of "Joe only listens to hardcore" or "Bob will only rock out to skatepunk," but I have a lot of friends that like classic rock, metal, hip-hop and even the latest scourge plaguing the local airwaves. Considering my involvement in the punk community, I get to hear a lot of bands and I can't think of one in recent memory that could appeal to so many, both "punk-related" and not, music enthusiasts like the Gaslight Anthem.

Sink or Swim, the New Jersey-based quartet's debut LP, is the type of record that most young bands wish they could create to launch their musical career. For a group of guys with such diverse backgrounds in styles like folk, blues, metal, hardcore and punk, the overall output is an album rich in melody, hooks and overall well-crafted song arrangements. In the album's opener, "Boomboxes and Dictionaries," we get a very bouncy number to kick things off, slightly reminiscent of Against Me!, complete with the standard "whoah-oh-oh" backing vocals. Fans of bands like Samiam and Lucero will appreciate tracks like "I Coulda Been a Contender," with its slowed-down intro, blasting into the up-tempo choruses, all the while perfectly showcasing singer/guitarist Brian Falon's smokey vocal style.

For as good as almost every song is on the record, the two standouts are easily "Wooderson" and the newly recorded "Drive" (which the original, and better, version appeared on the Go Kart Records compilation Go Kart vs. The Corporate Giant 4). Both tracks are simply the band at its best. Bassist Alex Levine and drummer Benny Horowitz cement a perfect rhythm section, maintaining a fast and smoothly rolling tempo, allowing lead guitarist Alex Rosamilia the stability to display his talent in playing more than your standard three chords.

Influences are one of the most poignant themes contained within several tracks on the album. The very Springsteen-ish "Ida Called You Woody, Joe," makes numerous references to the late, great songwriter and icon, Joe Strummer. Additionally, the closing track, "Red at Night" borrows the musical arrangement from Billy Bragg's "Way Over Yonder." In place of the normal Woody Guthrie words are instead lyrics written by Brian, and the song itself is performed solo and acoustically, with brief harmonica appearances solidifying the depth and overall feeling of the song.

If they continue in the direction that Sink or Swim points, it's obvious that the Gaslight Anthem's songwriting will only grow stronger, as many key elements, mainly arrangements and vocal harmonies, have already matured to the likes of a veteran band. This is one of those incredible albums that leaves you wanting more, knowing what the band is capable of, yet still introducing themselves with an amazing starting point. With constant touring, fueled by one of the best live shows I've witnessed in some time, it's safe to say that you will be hearing a lot more about this band in the future. Easily one of my favorite releases of 2007.

Stream Sink or Swim at the Gaslight Anthem Punknews profile

See an exclusive video of the Gaslight Anthem from the Punknews Video of the Week featuring three songs from Sink or Swim


People who liked this also liked:
The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Against Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Gaslight Anthem - Señor and the QueenAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldThe Clash - London CallingOperation Ivy - Operation Ivy

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
arejaypunx (November 1, 2010)

best the band has done. Nothing since has really clicked with me because this one was new and refreshing at the time.

Banger (September 28, 2010)

Great album. Still their best.

People talk about how with "Red at Night" they "borrowed" from Billy Bragg's "Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key" (even though to my knowledge Bragg receives no songwriting credit). But what about "We Came to Dance"? It has the same exact guitar riff as the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' "Bronzing the Garbage." It's even in the same key.

Chaosweaver144 (March 25, 2010)

Amazing. Surpasses The '59 Sound quite a bit for me, even though I was addicted to both. I'm afraid that this is their only release I can call Punk. Not even sure about that. It's good music, though.

johnnyawesome (February 1, 2010)

so much freakin love for this album. its amazing.

VictimOfADriveBy (November 15, 2009)

Best album of 2007. Hands down.

Alien (October 21, 2009)

near perfect

LittleSteven (January 30, 2009)

Amazing album one of the best of last year amazing energy can't wait to see them live!!!!

PtvnSux94 (December 3, 2008)

What a great record one of my favorites.

flannagin94 (September 29, 2008)

This record is better than many and it is not even their best in my opinion

indysmith (August 30, 2008)

Over compressed - horrible sounding. Virtually unlistenable, and it's a massive shame because the tunes are pretty solid.
I'd love to see them live.

murderfan1 (June 10, 2008)

Scott is an asshole...Best record I've heard this side of forever

LIQUIDSWORDS (June 10, 2008)

Fantastic Album, this release is arguably the best of 07.

TommyPickles (March 22, 2008)

Sink or Swim is really good album, I can't want for the new album to come out.

Skawas (March 14, 2008)

for me the best release 2007. just great!

MattRamone (March 10, 2008)

Wow, Scott's an asshole.

poonk (February 18, 2008)

Most overrated album in the history of the 'org.

xshoutoutx (February 12, 2008)

if ALK3 fucked Against Me! you would have this band... but who's complaining?

asparkoflife (February 9, 2008)

Easily one of the best albums of the past 3-4 years. A refreshing new band that I am super excited to see mroe from. Wishing I was seeing them this week with the loved ones, but im working.

mechpope13 (January 26, 2008)

the best thing to come out of jersey since the bouncing souls

drewshaw (January 26, 2008)

finally has an australian release.. this album is awesome. it combines the best bits of all my favorite bands and yet maintains its own originality. joe strummer would be proud

Neill_Cawley (January 5, 2008)

Wow, Chris, if you read this I would like to congratulate you on the first paragraph. 100% true. I have a friend who likes classic rock, no punk at all, and he loved the Gaslight Anthem.

Two punk bands that everyone should like:
Gaslight Anthem
Defiance, Ohio

keithybobeefy (December 25, 2007)

These guys used to be called 'This Charming Man' and played at my high school like 4 years ago. The song '1930' was called 'She could sink the titantic'. They were great then and they're great now.

someone-yeah (December 19, 2007)

Damn, these guys are like a more aggressive honor system.

I dig it.

SumWon (October 21, 2007)

I sure hope they gave credit to Skynard and Billy Bragg for ripping off their music. I havent heard the first half of the album, but there are probably a few more, too. Anyone who thinks this album is amazing, check out Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key by Billy Bragg.

booker_pee (September 8, 2007)

does this remind anyone else of a way better Our Mercury? i can't put my finger on it, maybe it's the vocals, but something in this record reminds me of them.

cnsears (August 18, 2007)

this may be the best album of the last 5 years and the next 5 years to come

BarleyPat (August 16, 2007)

I finally picked this up. I'd streamed it, but I got the CD last night and been listening the hell out of it.

bakla (July 20, 2007)

this is good!

T-Rock (June 28, 2007)

Really great band with a really unique sound.

Anonymous (June 3, 2007)

holy crap..you are right about cadillac blindside....thats probably why I like them!

Anonymous (June 2, 2007)

they sound like cadillac blindside

Anonymous (June 1, 2007)

not bad for boys from New Brunswick.
seriously, the album is really, really good......it draws you in from the 1st listen and gets better everytime you hear it

Anonymous (June 1, 2007)

love this album

danperrone (May 31, 2007)

new brunswick...HELL YEAH

frostbrewliner (May 31, 2007)

Exellent album! So catchy i rarely find myself skipping a song throughout a whole listen.

moneenerd (May 31, 2007)

this is fuckin RETARDED good. thank you so much for suggesting!!!!

fuzzy (May 30, 2007)

This is great year for new bands, I think. Gaslight is really working their asses off, touring as much as possible, becoming road warriors in their own right. This album is pretty fantastic, not a 9 in my book, but definitely shows a band that is on the right track and has nailed a lot of what it takes to become a great band. They need to work mostly on evening out their guitar tone and overall mix between tracks as well as some of the lyrics on the tracks. Overall, however, this is far better than most anything else put out this year.

GreenVandal (May 29, 2007)

LOVE the cover art!

SloaneDaley (May 29, 2007)

this is a good record but it was a little dissappointing to me that my favourite song was still Drive when all was said and done.

niveK82 (May 29, 2007)

There aren't many reviewers that I completely agree with on this site. Chris is the reviewer that I agree with most. That being said, this is an amazing album.

Anonymous (May 29, 2007)

LOL at Scott getting pwned. Seriously this Scott guy thinks he has credibility because he writes for Alternative Press. That magazine is trash. This album is not a 9 though. I would say a 5.

onegirlarmy (May 29, 2007)

Also, the one kind of low point on this record for me is the new version of Drive. I agree, the demo/Go-Kart comp version is better, and while it's still a great song, this recording of it makes it feel like something is lacking.

CogsintheMachine (May 29, 2007)

I assumed it was referencing Lifetime, given GLA being from Jersey as well. Pretty much every song on this album references, alludes to, or namechecks another artist/song. Super rad.
This is my new favorite album.

onegirlarmy (May 29, 2007)

Definitely a great band/record and awesome dudes as well.

They contributed "I'da Called You Woody, Joe" for the Generic Insight Radio compilation and I think that was a good choice. It's one of the best tracks on the record I think, and I definitely think it's a good introduction song for anyone who has never heard them.

Anonymous (May 29, 2007)

the lifetime refrence is in "We Came to Dance" at the end, it says "we learned from the very best dancers around, we learned from the very best dancers in town" at least that's the only thing I could think of in that song being a Lifetime refrence.

BHS (May 29, 2007)

great record. great live show. ultra nice guys.

this record is definitely worthy of its praise.

Anonymous (May 29, 2007)

This band is amazing. So this is album.

Dante3000 (May 29, 2007)

Oh, speaking of which does the song "We came to dance" make reference to Lifetime?
Because that'd be rad.

sickboi (May 29, 2007)

Rich, stop feeding into the hyperbole. People are gonna think that I paid you and all of these other people commenting that really enjoy this record as much as I do.


Dante3000 (May 29, 2007)

I listen to the stream of this at least once a day at work. Just an amazing album.
I tend to find I'm more drawn towards "one trick" bands who can write a consistent album as opposed to "amazingly diverse bands" who write albums with great songs and shitty songs *co-Brand New-ugh*.
I'm not sure if this gets classified as the "one trick pwny" but it's good.

Sapherlap (May 29, 2007)

I've listened to this CD over and over again while it was being streamed on this website. Now it's time to pick it up and cruise in a car with it. :)

radioXwaves (May 29, 2007)

I heard this record when I was in RVA a week or so back and when I got home I checked the record out and it's phenominal.

Anonymous (May 29, 2007)

very good stuff!
the new strung out isn't bad either, as is the new tiger army..
so far 2007 has had some great records.. yee haw..
eat minge

Anonymous (May 29, 2007)

ok I guess, Im already looking ahead to next week and the new Tiger Army and Aggrolites-oldpunker

Anonymous (May 29, 2007)

this shit is fucking stellar. one of the best records so far of 2007

baseball (May 29, 2007)

growing on me more each listen..

Anonymous (May 29, 2007)

this record is an amazing starting point. only a couple throw away tracks and the acoustic songs work well in the context of the album.

rozcoemission (May 29, 2007)

Definately the most solid album i've heard in a while... and they're going on tour with the Draft!

baptist_general (May 29, 2007)

soulful, upbeat driving rock with a dash of punk!

kinda like Springsteen Vs Social D Vs Welt

not folk punk in anyway, just good honest rock music

Anonymous (May 29, 2007)

what kind of music do these guys play?

Anonymous (May 29, 2007)

Excellent CD. Other than the Sink Florida Sink-esque "whoas", I don't really see the Against Me comparison, or folk-punk comparison, but a lot of people say the same thing.

Great live band. Potential album of the year. I have no problem with a 9, but the random acoustic/country songs damage the flow of the record. So I'll give it an 8. Still, the good songs are incredible, and the bad songs are good.

baptist_general (May 29, 2007)

a seriously great album!

skaboom (May 29, 2007)

This album is quality, it's going to be huge with the Against Me crowd.

sickboi (May 29, 2007)

You know Scott, different people have different tastes. I don't like half the shit you listen to or hype, yet I don't call you on it, because frankly, an opinion is just that.

Just because I don't write for AP, doesn't mean my opinion doesn't matter. It just means I do this for the love of it, and nothing more.

maverick (May 29, 2007)

It's good, but it ain't no 4.5 stars. Between this and the Fake Problems review, Chris is quickly becoming the new King Of Hyperbole.


nocigar (May 29, 2007)

i totally agree, this is a GREAT album

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