The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten – Review

The second half of 2012 is a time frame I’ve been looking forward to, with so many bands releasing albums I can’t wait to hear, including the new double album from Biffy Clyro, ‘Babel’ from Mumford & Sons, ‘The 2nd Law’ by Muse among many others! The first album though that I’ve been anticipating is ‘Handwritten’ by The Gaslight Anthem. It is officially released tomorrow but having been streamed online I’ve had the chance now to give it a good few listens! ‘Handwritten’ sees the band make their major label debut and boy do they deliver!

Opening with the lead single ’45’ is a direct and meaningful statement for what is to come, an album filled with anthemic, heart on sleeve, relatable rock songs, ’45’ is a fast paced straight up rock song with some nice lead parts, it becomes obvious pretty quickly that the production on this album is second to none, it is remarkably crisp for such a big record, the vocals soar above the instruments which complement them all the way, the drums are spot on, the bass is smooth and the guitars are punchy and sharp. Up next is title track ‘Handwritten’ and the 2nd single to come from the album, it again is straight up rocker but it is probably the best song to date for effectively showing the pain which Brian Fallon tries to convey in his lyrics/vocals, probably in part due to the subject matter not being so nostalgic and once again there is some really nice crisp lead the type you expect from The Gaslight Anthem. ‘Too Much Blood’ takes a turn to a more crunchy blues style riff which is the perfect platform for Fallon’s vocals to take centre stage in what is arguably one of his best vocal performances to date. If Fallon takes centre stage in ‘Too Much Blood’ it’s the guitars and pounding drums that do so in ‘Biloxi Parish’ in what turns out to be possibly the most anthemic classic rocker on the album. The last couple of tracks on the album ‘Mae’ and ‘National Anthem’ see the album slow down and head into ballad territory, the first of which ‘Mae’ is very reminiscent of their previous ballads such as ‘Here’s Looking At You Kid’ and it creates a wonderful atmosphere. Final track ‘National Anthem’ is an acoustic track which focuses on Fallon’s soaring vocals place above some nice finger picking and string ensembles, a beautiful way to close the album.

Having looked forward to this album for so long I’m so relieved that it didn’t let me down! ‘Handwritten’ is genuinely bordering on being a masterpiece, not something I really want to say about an album that has not technically been released yet, but ‘Handwritten’ has all the addicting rhymes of ‘The 59 Sound’, the prominent lead guitar of ‘American Slang’ and the raw energy of ‘Sink Or Swim’, what this means then is you get an album that is unmistakably The Gaslight Anthem whilst still managing to refine and refresh their sound! If ‘The ’59 Sound’ broke them as a band ‘Handwritten’ maybe the album to propel them to new and dizzying heights!

Rating: –

9.5/10

Tracklisting: –

1. “45”
2. Handwritten
3. Here Comes My Man
4. Mulholland Drive
5. Keepsake
6. Too Much Blood
7. Howl
8. Biloxi Parish
9. Desire
10. Mae
11. National Anthem

Recommended Tracks: –

If I’m Honest The Album!!!

PDC

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