The Gaslight Anthem Handwritten

The Gaslight AnthemHandwritten
The Gaslight Anthem have done what they do best with their first major label release, Handwritten: create an anthemic, honest, fun rock record. The band captured a great deal of attention with their breakout release, The 59' Sound, in 2008, with numerous comparisons to Bruce Springsteen, thanks largely to lyrics dealing with Springsteen-ian staples of young love, lost love and youthful summer nights in cars or on the boardwalk. The lyrics were backed up by catchy, if somewhat simple, melodies. For next album American Slang, the band built more riff-based songs around characters in a romantic vision of NYC. For Handwritten, the band balance the simple chord progression style of The 59' Sound with guitarist Alex Rosamilia's soaring riffs and solos to help add greater depth to the record. The styles of the individual songs on the album shift between the Gaslight cornerstones of Americana-infused punk rock ("45" and the title track) to the blues and grunge of "Blood on the Page," to more traditional pop ("Mulholland Drive" and "Here Comes My Man") and then back again, helping keep the record from getting stale. It's clear the Gaslight Anthem have settled on a style that reflects all of their influences while not sounding derivative. Handwritten may not break any new ground for the band, but it's easily their strongest release yet. (Mercury)