Review Summary: The next great American band
I have never anticipated an album more than Handwritten.
The past two months of my life have been spent pacing the floor just waiting for any glimpse of what Gaslight is going to do this time. It was very much worth the wait for all the eagerness I held. Handwritten
is nothing short of brilliant. This is the album that's going to push Gaslight into real fame. In a recent interview, Brian Fallon stated "I don't make any jokes about it... I want my band to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame." Brian's goal is obvious upon first listening. Their sound is bigger, much louder, more accessible and catchier than any of their previous releases. Also, we've never heard as many "whoa-oh's" in any other Gaslight release. Despite it being a lot more radio-friendly, Handwritten
is still straight Gaslight to the core and a clear indicator of the stardom these boys hope to accomplish.
I got a pretty good feel for what kind of sound Handwritten
was going to have after spending weeks endlessly replaying '45' and live versions of 'Here Comes My Man.' What I anticipated was good old-fashioned rock-and-roll with strong rhythms, heartfelt lyrics and powerful choruses. My expectations held true; Handwritten
is a collection of strong, energetic rock songs. You can't help but shout along with 'Howl,' '45' and 'Handwritten.' There are heavy songs with crunchy rhythms such as 'Too Much Blood' and 'Biloxi Parish.' There are a couple of beautiful ballads too. One being 'National Anthem,' an honest acoustic song that closes the album simply and elegantly. In another song 'Mae,' Brian breathes out an emotional and moving atmosphere. These slow songs fit comfortably beside previous Gaslight ballads like 'Here's Looking At You, Kid.' Aside from those two, Gaslight provides nothing short of kick-ass rock music.
combines the addicting rhythms of The '59 Sound,
the prominent lead guitar of American Slang,
and the raw energy of Sink or Swim.
However, this isn't The '59 Sound part 2,
but instead a brand new listening experience that is unmistakeably the work of The Gaslight Anthem. With each album, Gaslight manages to refine and refresh their sound to make a remarkable album that doesn't sound like anything else they've released and Handwritten
is no exception.
A few days before the official release of Handwritten,
I went with a good friend to see Gaslight for the second time at a small local venue. We walked away from the show starstruck, knowing we had just witnessed some piece of history. Over a few drinks after the show, we had a discussion about how we probably wouldn't see these guys again at our local hole-in-the-wall. We would have to drive out to a bigger city, and see them on a bigger stage, and remember what it felt like to be inches away from the band during their first '59 Sound
tour. All of these suspicions were confirmed after hearing Handwritten.
This album is a turning point for the band and will push Gaslight to the next level. They deserve everything they've earned, and haven't had to sell themselves out to do it. Friends, we are without a doubt witnessing the progression of the next great American band.