Album Reviews

The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten Review

Released By : Mercury Records

Genre : Modern Rock

Link : http://www.thegaslightanthem.com

 

Lineup:

Brian Fallon – Vocals

Alex Rosamilia – Guitar

Alex Levine – Bass

Benny Horowitz – Drums

 

Tracklist:

01. 45

02. Handwritten

03. Here Comes My Man

04. Mullholland Drive

05. Keepsake

06. Too Much Blood

07. Howl

08. Biloxi Parish

09. Desire

10. Mae

11. National Anthem

 

Justice is something the music industry could always do with more of. For every band that gets a major label deal or a song on the radio there’s a hundred that deserve it more but will never get the opportunity. It’s refreshing though when every now and then the industry gets it right, which it has by signing THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM up to a major label. The band’s fourth full length, HANDWRITTEN is an amalgamation of everything they have done before hand and as a whole is almost a perfect modern rock record.

The band’s love for Bruce Springsteen is still the major driving force behind their overall style, but the worship has been turned down a little from the previous album AMERICAN SLANG. They still retain a slight punk rock influence in places but that element of the band really is a minimal contributor these days. On HANDWRITTEN the band add a bit more of a modern chart rock feel that is not too dissimilar to that of pre-pop days MATCHBOX TWENTY and DROPS OF JUPITER era TRAIN, then there’s that slightly alternative rock feel that bands like THE KILLERS were dishing out five or six years ago too. It all adds up to a very, very accessible sound that is a perfect fit for radio play and a great representation of what would be considered the stadium rock sound of this era. Before you gulp though, fear not, the songwriting here is still all class and to put it simply, if all modern radio rock was created with as much care and skill as this then the music landscape in general would be a much better place.

This slight adaptation in style is sure to cause a rift in the band’s fan base and the cool kids that followed the first couple of albums are sure to start telling everybody else that these guys are sell-outs blah, blah, blah. It’s also entirely possible that THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM become the next band that is cool to hate, but don’t let any of that scener, childish bullshit affect your judgement okay, HANDWRITTEN is pure modern rock brilliance. The MATCHBOX TWENTY-esque threesome of HERE COMES MY MAN, MULLHOLLAND DRIVE and BILOXI PARISH are all perfect radio tunes, but lyrically and emotionally is a step above most of the stuff it will be up against. TOO MUCH BLOOD is an interesting tune and something different again for the band. It has a slight SUPERUNKNOWN era SOUNDGARDEN feel to it complete with a little bit of Chris Cornell inspired vocals to boot, one of the best songs on the album actually. HOWL and HANDWRITTEN both show small nods to the bands’ earlier punk-rock days, but neither really embrace the different feel as much as they could have. The album closes with a pure Springsteen influenced acoustic ballad called NATIONAL ANTHEM…not the most original song but it’s still a real treat to listen to.

HANDWRITTEN is THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM’S best written album to date and a fantastic representation of what modern radio rock should sound like. The very AMERICANA backbone here may put off those that never really embraced the Springsteen school of music in the first place, but for those that enjoy well written accessible music and don’t care about the popularity factor there is plenty to discover on HANDWRITTEN and it’s one of those albums that feel familiar from the first listen but still warms up even more with repeated listens. On a side-note, if you enjoyed this album, please check out a less-popular band from Australia called THE RUBY TIGERS… very similar in approach and almost as classy too.

 

Written By ZeeZee

Rating : 9/10

 

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