The Gaslight Anthem know what you think of them. You’ve already filed them under Springsteen-Jerseycore and will listen to them based on how far that judgement will take you. For the most part, the New Brunswick band is fine with that. But lead singer Brian Fallon and the rest of the guys knew that their fifth album, Get Hurt, needed to travel beyond that. Not just the stereotypes: they’ll never kick the Springsteen name-drop, even though most of the band barely listened to him until they formed. But The Gaslight Anthem sound had to expand.
‘Expand’ doesn’t mean ‘change’, we’re a long way from The Gaslight Anthem’s EDM phase. But what does the new sound sound like? Quite nice, actually. There are effects pedals, synths, and even harmonies. There’s a solemn meditation (“Underneath the Ground”) on death that takes its cues from Bon Iver, of all places. The growth is unexpected but feels natural: Get Hurt shows that The Gaslight Anthem have enough confidence in their sound to use it as a foundation to leap from.
We talked with Brian Fallon on the phone about the history of bands changing their sounds, the importance of track listings, and of utmost concern, the state of his mouth.
Radio.com: Thanks for chatting with us. These media days can be long.
Brian Fallon: It’s not been that long of a day, actually. The worst thing that happened to me was that I went to the dentist today.
Well, I go a lot. Basically, I have to have my whole mouth restructured. For the last couple years, I’ve had a lot of issues with my teeth. Normal people have two or three roots in their teeth, mine have six, eight, nine. So the offshoot ones, they’ve never closed since I was born so they can obstructed. And when they do, it’s like, your teeth start rotting from the inside and there’s nothing you can do about it, you just gotta get them fixed, or get molds or implants. So today I had a root canal, like root canal number fifteen.
It’s okay, you get used to it. There are people who go through dialysis, so I have nothing to complain about….I was thinking though, when we were doing the cover of the record, I was thinking “We should have a picture of my mouth!” because it was a state of total disarray. It was being reconstructed: holes sticking out, teeth missing, it looked really weird. So I was like, “Just take a picture of my x-ray and put that on the cover!” And everyone else was like, “No, that’s a really terrible idea.” And I thought, that’s why I do this, that’s why I’m in a band: so I don’t make all these decisions by myself.