The Gaslight Anthem: Handwritten

Jersey boys The Gaslight Anthem have recently released their follow up album to the critically acclaimed American Slang. Handwritten is the bands fourth album and another album that will undoubtedly get fantastic reviews. However, it sounds a lot more like the band’s rawer sophomore record The ’59 Sound than the more radio friendly American Slang.

The thing about this band that I’m really attracted to is the uniqueness in their sound, while drawing obvious influences like The Clash, Tom Waits, and most notably, Bruce Springsteen. Brian Fallon’s voice is very coarse and similar to Springsteen’s, the music is very honest and working class, and they’re all from New Jersey. Yet the Gaslight Anthem have made a name for themselves by doing their own thing and writing great songs at the same time. Handwritten is just another example of this trend.

The album starts off with “45”, a lovely song about listening to records and is an absolute ripper. The album rarely lets up from there. The songs are much thicker than before and songs like “Too Much Blood”, “Keepsake”, and “Biloxi Parish” have more of a southern rock feel to them as opposed to the americana-punk style they usually write. The album also closes with a fantastic cover of Tom Petty’s “You Got Lucky.”

Overall, I’d say this is a fantastic album from a man who was unsure of himself after writing American Slang. Thank god for Fallon’s side project the Horrible Crows I guess. That album he did allowed him to dig much deeper and write much darker material. I think  Fallon had to do that in order to come back to The Gaslight Anthem and write another killer record. Fallon said he was unsure of whether he’d be able to write another Gaslight Anthem song again after American Slang, but this album is proof the he’s still got it in him.

Luke Helker

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