Make no bones about it — the Gaslight Anthem comparisons that Red Collar receive are not without merit. They both have their Springsteen leanings, writing songs about times gone by, with a certain wisp of nostalgia about them. However, I’d argue that Red Collar’s Welcome Home LP on Tiny Engines has more to do with the likes of Drag the River and the various punk-fueled Americana acts than sons of New Jersey.
Alternately, you could see them as taking from Americana-fueled punk acts. Avail certainly plays no small part in songs like “Dodge K Car,” a rollicking bit of anthemic rock ‘n’ roll that sets the second side of this album apart from the first. Honestly, aside from the a-side track “The Old Piano Roll” (with its really excellent guitar fade-out that reminded me of nothing so much as the end of Guns ‘n’ Roses’ “Civil War”), the first half of Welcome Home is a pretty monotonic set of music. It required a good amount of convincing myself to flip it over, convinced as I was that the second batch of tracks was going to be a slog.