Wednesday, 8 August 2012
REVIEW: THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM-HANDWRITTEN
Igniting bright Springsteen sonnets.
Jersey boys The Gaslight Anthem have had quite the six years. Forming in the latter part of the last decade, Brain, Benny and the two Alex's have made their native New Brunswick, New Jersey proud with hard-worked, relentlessly cultivated, albums after albums and tours after tours since their debut 'Sink Or Swim'. With shades of Springsteen and a co-sign from Bruce himself these Boss inspired boys really made their mark with the hallmark, uplifting 'The '59 Sound' and two years ago their album after their groundbreaking release was no disappointment either. 'American Slang' spoke volumes so loudly and proudly, the fresh feeling record doesn't seem like it was released two years back.
Still it was and now two calender 365's later means it's time for another release and the new album 'Handwritten' is exactly their signature style...one that further engraves their post-30, young legend. With the Nets gone to Brooklyn it's time for these players to put the city of Jersey on their back. With liner notes written by England's Nick Hornby and great lyrics from top, young frontman Brian Fallon, this bands script looks ready for the personal touch as they further imprint their musical personality on the minds of the mainstream. '45' is the perfect record and lead single to start things off. The uptempo, rags to riches, feel-good number is classic igniting Gaslight. It's their new anthem. Good enough for BBC Radio 1's s Zane Lowe's 'Hottest Record in the World' pick.
The album-titled 'Handwritten' is another example of great songwriting from the palms of Fallon, while the 'Romeo + Juliet' esque, titled 'Here Comes My Man' keeps the amps blasting for star-crossed rock lovers. 'Mulholland Drive' is as vivid as the place in Los Angeles, and the film named after itself. It's classic, cinematic and the type of record that seems primed for Hollywood. Yet it's a blue-collar, labor of love from a band who "work our fingers down to dust". And just like those lyrics off the magnificent 'Mae' or the emotional pouring of 'Too Much Blood' and the screams of 'Howl' this is an album and band who give until it's gone. Acknowledgment to Ben Harper.
'Biloxi Parish' is heaven sent and 'Desire' is undeniable but this band really take themselves to the classic places of their last two discs with a couple of standouts that are far from album filler. A real find is 'Keepsake'. A real keeper this is the kind of instant classic that as soon as you hear the first time it'll have that nostalgic, deja-vu feeling of being something you've known for years as soon as you hear Brian sing "It's been 31 years since she's been in your arms". That's before it becomes the new record you can't stop playing until it becomes old...an old favorite that is. It only gets deeper and realer with lines like "What we could have had here if you would had upon in my life/And there were children involved and they were brothers to me/Even if we never got to meet" and beauty like "But just like his daddy is gone/I just want to love someone who has the same blood, who has the same blood."
"I will never forget you my American love" begins the end of this album. The anthem's last chant is the 'National Anthem', a patriotic laudation that speaks volumes for band and country even if it is a slow-burner. It's a classic ballad like their previous two albums best efforts 'Here Looking At You, Kid' (off 'The '59 Sound') and 'We Did It When We Where Young' (off 'American Slang'). With this and some bonus tracks in the form of Nirvana and Tom Petty covers and some 'Teenage Rebellion' and 'Blue Dahlia' this bands latest album is right there with the rest of their best works. With their classic, consistent, cohesive catalogue, 'Handwritten' underlines this band as on of the modern-day, mainstreams leading acts. How proud must Bruce Springsteen be? Signed, sealed and delivered brilliantly 'Handwritten' continues the story of a young band, making their own lasting legacy. It's clear to hear their here to stay. The anthems wont stop until the gaslight burns out. TIM DAVID HARVEY.