The Gaslight Anthem
Handwritten


4.0
excellent

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
July 28th, 2012 | 197 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: In the backseat, we're just trying to find some room to breathe.

The opening of Handwritten's centrepiece, "Too Much Blood", turns back round to 2010's American Slang and punches it in the face for being so hell-bent on sounding cool. It needs next track "Howl" in its wake, to blow the cobwebs away, but the thing to acknowledge about the Gaslight Anthem in 2012 is that they appear to have learned the value of that trade-off. There is no sort of clamouring to turn every track here into an anthem on the same level of The '59 Sound's eponymous track, no rush to a self-gratifying chorus just for the sake of it. Handwritten sounds immensely organic, built - like '59 Sound was - around Brian Fallon's stories.

It's great for that focus to shift, and it alone allows Handwritten to breathe without sounding anywhere close to fatigued. While the Gaslight Anthem still owe a hat-tip to Springsteen, "Mae" is the sort of full and almost atmospheric song they could never have written four years ago, a mid-tempo ballad which carries the kind of undercurrent that feathered "Here's Looking At You, Kid" but marries it with a tender, nostalgic, full-band aesthetic. These things all swing around the same axis in a gorgeous fashion, until Fallon sings, "if you ain't been in love for a while," and in that moment they grow and blossom into something to die for.

If you remove Handwritten from its discographical context, and imagine it as a first encounter, it's an assured, excellent collection of songs, but in light of the band's earlier material - from Sink or Swim through a Fallon solo album last year - its contemplative edges probably mark an important point in the road. The Gaslight Anthem feel like a band that, until now, have been accidentally playing in the dark; Handwritten, much as it is still a rock album, finds them with an ease, confidence, and general openness, that they've never seemed to need or want before. It doesn't quite spike with the sharp edges of old, but the passion is in a more intelligent place, and it's a place worth returning to with at least the same frequency as those hospital walls.



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user ratings (615)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
July 27th 2012


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Adam Thomas had nothing to say :X

kirbdog09
July 27th 2012


7 Comments


i like the sound of this

LifeAsAChipmunk
July 27th 2012


4854 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This is okay.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2012


7314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I need to start listening to these guys.

ABjordanMM
July 28th 2012


1437 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Real nice review. I agree.

Digging: Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were

skoopy48
July 28th 2012


1540 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

never listened to this band, probably should judging by all of the positive reviews

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
July 28th 2012


6499 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Frankly, I don't know how I feel about this new one yet. I think quite different in approach than their other albums and I'll need some time to let it sink in. The lyrics are fantastic though, some of the best he's ever written.

Digging: Recondite - Iffy

AtavanHalen
July 28th 2012


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

soundofffffff

breakingthefragile
July 29th 2012


2962 Comments


For me, this is one of the best albums I've heard all month. It still doesn't touch Frank Ocean's Channel Orange though.

Knott-
Emeritus
July 29th 2012


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm writing in Adam Thomas' place, what did you expect?!?!?!

AtavanHalen
July 29th 2012


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

who the fuck is adam thomas

DiceMan
July 29th 2012


7068 Comments


meeeeeh

JackSparrow
July 29th 2012


1686 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Anyone think this album suffers from too-clean production? I mean, as punky as 45 is, it would be better if it wasn't as glossy

guitarplaya91
July 29th 2012


485 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The production is polished, but it still sounds like gaslight anthem. I would assume and hope that is what the band was going for. I was worried that signing to a major label would hinder their songwriting, but even though this is no where as good as sink or swim or 59 sound, it is a lot better than American Slang IMO (flows easier) and the music itself is great. Once you get past the fact that Gaslight won't ever be the same band they used to be, the deeper this album will sink in. I love this direction and if they could get serious radio and MTV (yeah i said it) air time, maybe Rock and Roll will have a serious comeback as far as popularity goes.

Kids i know who only listen to stereotypical rock such as hinder, and seether etc. are starting to listen to gaslight. They're exposing heartfelt and honest rock in a time that direly needs it. Good on them.

Puzzles
July 30th 2012


3065 Comments


I was really digging this album but then I put it on and didn't dig it so much so I put on some Refused instead m/ m/

Puzzles
July 30th 2012


3065 Comments


I was really digging this album but then I put it on and didn't dig it so much so I put on some Refused instead m/ m/

ohfoxxxycole
July 30th 2012


4353 Comments


i like this band sometimes

Mordecai.
July 30th 2012


8279 Comments


how many times do they say Cadillac?

Puzzles
July 30th 2012


3065 Comments


17 times, I counted

AtavanHalen
July 30th 2012


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

what's your dad like



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