The Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten
Released July 23, 2012 via Vertigo | Rating: 4/5 | By Jim Sharples
“If I want to I could start over again,” sings Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon on ‘Here Comes My Man’. Such is the case with the fourth album (and major label debut) from the New Brunswick four-piece. Having been dogged by comparisons to Jersey’s favourite son (Springsteen, not Bon Jovi), ‘Handwritten’ sees Gaslight once again changing up their sound, moving away from the E Street-isms and Petty-isms of 2010’s ‘American Slang’ and harking back to their debut slice of punk ‘n’ roll ‘Sink Or Swim’ (2007). ‘Handwritten’ is the sound of four working class blokes getting together in a room and bashing out eleven tracks of rock ‘n’ roll with all the finger-bleeding passion they can muster. From the opening ‘45’ to the closing ‘National Anthem’, Fallon weaves a strong narrative throughout with his world weary vocals. The interplay between Alex Rosamilia (guitar), Alex Levine (bass) and Benny Horowitz (drums) remains practically unrivalled, at times supremely chunky (the ‘Vs’ era Pearl Jam sound of ‘Too Much Blood’) and at times as light as a feather (such as on the compelling ‘Mulholland Drive’). The Gaslight Anthem imbue their sound with something that can’t be taught, copied, bought, borrowed or stolen: a sense of soul rarely seen, providing soundtracks to lives lived driving forward, pedal stomped to the floor, leaving the past in the rearview mirror.