Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Album Review: Handwritten

Title:  Handwritten [Deuxe Edition] (Amazon, Interpunk, iTunes, AllMusic, Wikipedia)
Artist:  The Gaslight Anthem (Official, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Last.fm, YouTube, AllMusic, Wikipedia)

2012 has seen the release of some great records (The Lumineers self-titled debut and Tim Barry's 40 Miler come to mind) but nothing has jumped out at me as the album of the year.  That was until I heard Handwritten.  The Gaslight Anthem's fourth record is nothing short of rock 'n' roll perfection. 

Handwritten is filled with earnest and honest songs of love and loss, the open road and life, blood and hope.  Lead singer Brian Fallon has never sounded so good.  His lyrics are poignant and personal and his singing is passionate and powerful—these are songs that one can easily find him/herself in the middle of thanks to Fallon’s amazing ability to craft personal lyrics that not only tell a story but given insight into the soul that is universal in appeal.  He’s not the only one sounding great on Handwritten—the entire band shines through these anthems, moving rock numbers, and soulful ballads.  More than anything, Handwritten is the sound of a band maturing from a danred good punk rock ‘n’ roll band into a damned great rock ‘n’ roll band.  There are songs here for the punks (“45,” “Handwritten,” and “Howl”), songs for the classic rock fans (“Here Comes My Man,” “Mulholland Drive,” and “Desire”), songs for the Americana fans (“Keepsake,” “Biloxi Parish”), and songs for those who love ballads (“Too Much Blood,” “Mae,” and “National Anthem”).  But the real truth about this record is that it is perfect for those who love great rock ‘n’ roll music.  Whether you are coming at Handwritten from the direction of The Clash or Bruce Springsteen or Lucero, you will find something to love on this album be it through power chords, catchy hooks, grand choruses, or intensely personal lyrics.

The Gaslight Anthem’s jump from the independent SideOneDummy Records to the major Mercury Records may have been a concern for some fans (the punk purists mostly) but Handwritten proves that any fears were unnecessary and unfounded.  This is a record written by four regular and humble guys who appreciate what they have and have proven that by staying true to themselves and producing one of the most heartfelt records ever recorded.  One last note, the Deluxe Edition of the record contains three bonus tracks including covers of Nirvana’s “Sliver” and Tom Petty’s “You Got Lucky.”

1 comment:

Otter Limits said...

I purchased the Deluxe Edition on iTunes. The iTunes deluxe edition actually contains 1 bonus track as well.

It is a great album!