Album Review: The Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten

13 July 2012 | 2:13 pm | Danielle O'Donohue

It’s no longer a question of whether this album is any good. That’s a given. It’s a matter of how good.

More The Gaslight Anthem More The Gaslight Anthem

Reports of rock'n'roll's demise have been circling the music biz for years but instead of listening to all the speculation and throwing in the towel, bands like The Gaslight Anthem just keep making good music. And the slow and steady build of a fanbase around the world for these New Jersey working class heroes, suggests that Handwritten might just be the album to catapult them into the big league.

With frontman Brian Fallon leading the charge with his heart-on-sleeve industrial town poetry, this band have spun a pretty simple rock'n'roll formula into music gold; soaring guitars, an anthemic build to songs and the kind of steady slow-dance beat that's occupied jukeboxes for nearly 70 years. At this point in their career (with three previous albums and an EP behind them), it's no longer a question of whether this album is any good. That's a given. It's a matter of how good.

The Gaslight Anthem have never been particularly subtle but the first track on this album, the thrilling first single 45, closely followed by the opening lines of second track, “Pull it out, turn it up, what's your favourite song?/That's mine. I've been crying to it since I was young,” make it clear that this album isn't just a love letter to the people that populate all Gaslight Anthem's albums, the hard-working romantics falling in and out of love at the diner at 3am, but also the music that gets them through.

With acclaimed rock producer Brendan O'Brien at the helm, Gaslight Anthem have made the kind of album that got them through the shitty jobs in their younger days – they were the hard working romantics. Now they're the jukebox heroes.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter