The Gaslight Anthem – Senor and the Queen

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews

The Gaslight Anthem

Senor and the Queen - Sabot Productions

New Jersey’s The Gaslight Anthem started to make quite the name for themselves last year with their debut record, Sink Or Swim. The record captivated listeners everywhere it was played and made it’s way onto many, many year-end lists (mine included). It had been quite some time since a record was so universally devoured, as fans of all genres started to take notice of it. There was a certain authenticity within the songs that was undeniable and it pushed them forward with each spin. Less than a year later it was announced that the band was ready to return with yet another release, albeit just a four song EP, but new material nonetheless. After a few delays the EP, titled Senor and The Queen, was finally released and sees the band expand on their sound.

The EP starts with the title track, Senor and The Queen, a sparser sounding track then some may be used to hearing from the band. Opening with a disjointed drum beat and guitar squeal, the opening shout of “Show me your hands!” sounds like Russ Rankin of Good Riddance/Only Crime. From then on, it builds up a bit, creating a fuller sound that has the distinct punk rock and roll vibe that only The Gaslight Anthem can perform. By the time it gets to the first break, the song is in full swing and excitement starts to build up.

It then progresses into Wherefore Are Thou, Elvis?, a song that would have fit perfectly into Sink or Swim but instead helps carry this EP. Not only it is the catchiest song on the release, thanks in part to the “bah bah, bah bah, badadad” background chant and the phenomenal chorus, but it is only the song on which vocalist Brian Fallon really shines. His vocals are worn and passionate with a wide range of speed and volumes to help create a well rounded and diverse sound.

Say I Won’t (Recognize) continues that trend and its shaping up to be a great EP; but it is the closing track that really makes this EP so spectacular. Unlike anything the band has done before, Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts is a soft, slow country influence track; somewhat similar to The Navasink Banks but so much stronger than that. Fallon’s vocals are much softer than they are on the other tracks and the addition of the perfectly placed female vocals by Emily Sparks‘ Jet Mullen adds a certain depth to the song.

It is the mixture of the simplistic delivery and phenomenal lyrics that creates the power within the song; because without the intensity and speed that are present in the rest of the songs, Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts enables Fallon’s lyrics toreally shine through. Just like on Sink Or Swim, Fallon’s lyrics are inspiring and authentic. They are sincere and passionate and every song on this album follows a certain trend. They are beautiful love songs that can be related to anyone without being nauseatingly fake. Lyrics like “We sing with our heroes, 33 rounds per minute / We’ve never going home until the sun says were finished / I’ll love you forever if I ever love at all / with wild hearts, blue jeans and white t-shirts” paints of a picture of perfect Americana love. The whole record paints that picture; a picture of love, friendship and hometown adventures.

The sole downside of the EP is the fact that it’s just an EP. Lasting just over eleven minutes, The Senor and The Queen leaves you wanting more and proves that Sink or Swim wasn’t just a fluke. Don’t be surprised if this finds its way into a few year end lists too.