The Gaslight Anthem - Señor and the Queen
Record Label: Sabot Productions
Release Date: February 12, 2008
As someone who thrives on finding new music to listen to rather than continuously listening to the same couple of songs or even bands, I’ve never had much use for EPs. It was always disappointing to me when an album seemed to be hitting its stride and would abruptly end. Hell, in trying to figure out how to begin this review I’ve listened to Señor and the Queen three times. That said, I was ridiculously excited upon hearing The Gaslight Anthem were planning to release an EP not even a year after the phenomenal Sink or Swim. There was no doubt in my mind the people behind what was one of the best, if not the best, albums released last year would be able to pull off a quality EP. The question, however, was would they be able to do it in a way that left the listener feeling satisfied after it’s roughly ten minute playing time.
For those who are not familiar with the band, they play a kind of bluesy rock ‘n roll, and though they only have one full length to their name, they seem to know unquestionably who they are as a band. The easy comparison would be with Against Me!, whom they toured with, but make no mistake - they are two entirely different bands. On Señor and the Queen The Gaslight Anthem do absolutely nothing to change this. And I could not agree more with this move. Leave the experimentation to other bands. Not everyone needs to make stylistic changes to make their music interesting like Crime in Stereo did recently on their release Is Dead.
That is not to say The Gaslight Anthem do not keep things varied in their music. The four songs on this EP prove this. The first half of Señor and the Queen features the standard catchy and fast Gaslight Anthem song. Things really start to get interesting when track three, "Say I Won’t (Recognize)," rolls around. It starts out with, well, “everybody swingin’” as vocalist Brian Fallon would say. The song changes things up by noticeably subsiding about halfway through before picking up the pace again before the end of the song. The album ends with track four, “Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts.” This song easily veers the most from the standard Gaslight Anthem track. It starts with some subtle horns and even includes a piano at points. However, they remain in the background and are used more as a way to create a certain folksy atmosphere rather than being a focal point of the song. Suitably enough, Fallon’s vocals guide the EP to its close. Rather than feel that the rest of the album is missing the song works as the perfect closer; it gives Señor and the Queen a sense of being complete. Rather than put together a group of singles, The Gaslight Anthem have constructed a mini-album that is in no way hurt because of its runtime. Well worth the measly four dollars I paid for it.