The Gaslight Anthem
Handwritten


5.0
classic

Review

by John Fraser USER (11 Reviews)
July 17th, 2012 | 62 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Simply put, Handwritten is The Gaslight Anthem's masterpiece.

The Gaslight Anthem gained popularity for their mix of catchy accessibility and heart-on-its-sleeve relatable rock and roll. Handwritten doesn't deviate from that formula at all, but perfects it, resulting in the band's strongest release yet. The album doesn't waste its time trying to expand the band's sound to include superfluous effects and instruments; reflective of its title, this album could have been recorded 40 years ago. However, when listening to it Handwritten comes off as anything but stale.

A little bit heavier and more Springsteen-esque classic rock sounding than ever, Handwritten sounds more than anything like an album full of emotion. Singer Brian Falloon's howl sounds more filled with pain than ever, and cries of "too much blood on the page" reflect the heart-wrenchingly honest feeling of the album. While generally as uptempo as the bands' previous releases, Handwritten is much more effective at conveying emotional pain than anything the band has ever released, due in part to its drift away from the nostalgia of their breakthrough The '59 Sound and American Slang. The eponymous track lays this out clearly: "I don't remember the good times". While The Gaslight Anthem still revel in storytelling, the stories and memories themselves are starting to grow more directly painful rather than retrospectively sad (like "High Lonesome" off The '59 Sound).

The sound of the album is fuller and louder than their previous work. The pain in Handwritten isn't transmitted through slow-paced acoustic ballads (with the exception of the beautiful closer "National Anthem", an astounding folk song which may be the best song the band has ever written); instead this is a spectacularly written full band album complemented by pounding drums, big guitar (which gets its showcase in "Biloxi Parish", an anthemic classic rocker), and soaringly diverse vocals - undoubtedly Falloon's finest performance. The lyrics are tighter than ever and the pacing of the album is superb. Instrumentally and musically, this is the best the band have ever sounded.

The Gaslight Anthem have always thrived on authenticity and sincerity, and Handwritten is the pinnacle of their work. While The '59 Sound may have broken them into the conscience of music-listeners, this is the album that should cement them as one of the best rock bands of their era. Handwritten is the Americana masterpiece the the Gaslight Anthem has always been capable of, and it is stunning.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
outline
July 16th 2012


563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Don't freak out everyone, I've had this for a while and listened to it over and over.

Funeralopolis
July 16th 2012


11752 Comments


a few hours yea

Digging: Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt

outline
July 16th 2012


563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Try over a week.

Funeralopolis
July 16th 2012


11752 Comments


agreed band is week

WeepingBanana
July 16th 2012


10205 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

The sound of the album is fuller and louder than their previous work; the pain in Handwritten isn't transmitted through slow-paced acoustic ballads (with the exception of the beautiful closer "National Anthem", an astounding folk song which may be the best song the band has ever written), this is a spectacularly written full band album complemented by pounding drums, big guitar (which gets its showcase in "Biloxi Parish", an anthemic classic rocker), and soaringly diverse vocals, undoubtedly Falloon's finest performance.


you know a sentence needs revising when it takes up SEVEN LINES

Funeralopolis
July 16th 2012


11752 Comments


same thing but with a period after fuller

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 16th 2012


10543 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

what's this, a music album filled with emotion?!

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

KILL
July 16th 2012


72086 Comments


hahaha

Digging: Steve Hackett - Out of the Tunnel's Mouth

Funeralopolis
July 16th 2012


11752 Comments


usually my albums are just filled with farting sounds good to see this one has emotion.

WeepingBanana
July 16th 2012


10205 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

like seriously, this is my face on that 2nd to last paragrah

http://i1.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/002/250/what_the_fuck_am_I_reading.png

WeepingBanana
July 16th 2012


10205 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

didn't neg btw

KILL
July 16th 2012


72086 Comments


http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/336491_10151939046920521_958367911_o.jpg

Funeralopolis
July 16th 2012


11752 Comments


yea just actually read it. Neg remains neg

PuddlesPuddles
July 16th 2012


4787 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Not too big on steinspring to begrans with

And what 7 negulatories

GhettoHmbrglr
July 16th 2012


595 Comments


'punk'

someguest
July 16th 2012


21200 Comments


this band's as fake as mumford and sons

SeaAnemone
July 16th 2012


20824 Comments


I was pretty excited for this but reviews like this worry me
it's like the fanboys are getting super defensive over it already or something
better be better than American Slang

BroFro
July 16th 2012


405 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Falloon

Digging: Trophy Eyes - Mend, Move On

johnnyblaze
July 16th 2012


2622 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ya, review needs work dude.

on my second listen and i'm loving the shit out of this album right now.

Rev
July 16th 2012


9439 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Brain Falloon



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