I have thought about how I'm going to put this, and I have thought that I must sound incredibly biased to a band that I have loved since I heard The '59 Sound, but the truth is that Handwritten is stunning. It makes you feel happy, sad, angry; it makes you think, it makes you connect to the words, the drums, the guitars, you name it. It gives you shivers down your spine. This is what music is all about.
Brian Fallon, the genius behind the band's songwriting can be thanked for all the wrong reasons which have led to what is The Gaslight Anthem's best album to date. After crafting another side of him onto the near-perfect side project duo The Horrible Crowe's Elsie last September, he released a dark, sombre side of him which made Elsie the art of record that it is. But what had led to Fallon needing to release an album like Elsie, afterall The Gaslight Anthem were only achieving more and more after the release of 2010's American Slang. Whatever it was, he let out a lot of demons on that record, to which I'm thankful.
Handwritten is the most rock 'n roll out of The Gaslight Anthem's records. It combines the raw energy of Sink or Swim and The '59 Sound, it includes the soulfulness ofAmerican Slang and the captivating honesty of Elsie. It also has a 60's tinged influence, so this will reach out to an older crowd, as well as the young. Whoever's idea to bring in legendary producer Brendan O'Brien (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine) made a fantastic call, he has perfectly assisted the band, he sits right for them, and this man needs as much credit as he can get.
'45' is the perfect album opener. It's fresh, lively and raw, and awfully catchy. It sets the level of expectation high, creating a strong image which the band want this album to have. Title track 'Handwritten' is one hell of a song. Credit has got to be given to the band as a whole, Benny Horowitz is
an energetic, passionate drummer and his hard-hitting beats are combined so well with the shimmering guitar riffs of
Alex Rosamilia and thumping bass lines of Alex Levine.
It's an honest, passionate song, with some gorgeous words: