Despite little attention from major critics, the album met with strong reception from Independent critics. Absolutepunk.net received the album very positively, citing singer Brian Fallon for having a "talent for creating lyrics and melodies that are simple and catchy, yet never forced or unintelligent." The review also called "I'da Called You Woody, Joe" (a tribute to Joe Strummer) the highlight of the records, and noted the similarities between the opening track "Boomboxes and Dictionaries" and Against Me!'s “Sink. Florida. Sink.” Punknews.org also praised the album and made many similar observations. They called the record "the type of record that most young bands wish they could create to launch their musical career."  Unplugged reviews noted that "The Gaslight Anthem blend anthemic punk-rock spirit with Springsteen-influenced storytelling (together with a folk influence that recalls early Against Me!) to create a compelling, addictive whole." They also expressed appreciation for Fallon's "gruff vocals" and the contrast between up-tempo rockers like "We Came to Dance" and "Red in the Morning" and acoustic folk numbers like "The Navesink Banks" and "Red at Night."