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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Stripped down and catchy"
The Gaslight Anthem have come a long way from the Spingsteen-esque punk fusion of their early exploits. Though even to relatively new fans the bar has been set high by their charmingly powerful 2010 predecessor American Slang. Basic, raw and engaging, Handwritten takes the leap into new territory and by no means does it fall short. Incorporating their classic sing along...
Published on 23 July 2012 by Lemonwolf

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine, but a step backwards for them.
When I saw this was out, I immediately bought it. I was a massive fan about all of their previous albums, however this one is distinctly average and seems like they've just churned out most of the tracks for the album, the lyrics on a lot of them seem rushed and shallow. It's a lot more mainstream than some of the older stuff and seems to have lost a lot of its soul along...
Published on 24 Aug 2012 by Gajon


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Stripped down and catchy", 23 July 2012
The Gaslight Anthem have come a long way from the Spingsteen-esque punk fusion of their early exploits. Though even to relatively new fans the bar has been set high by their charmingly powerful 2010 predecessor American Slang. Basic, raw and engaging, Handwritten takes the leap into new territory and by no means does it fall short. Incorporating their classic sing along sound, most obviously present on `45', `Mullholland Drive' and `Biloxi Parish', with a new rockier drive it's unlike anything they've ever done before. The effect, which can partly be credited to different producer Brendan O'Brien, gives the bands folk punk core a new fiery exterior which undoubtedly engages the listeners attention much more effectively than previous efforts on a first run through. However, this does also leave a feeling of unfulfillment in places which a more layered approach would have remedied.

If you're expecting a start to finish fast paced strong chorused album then you might find yourself dissatisfied. Much like previous albums Gaslight successfully vary the overall feel. Songs such as `Here Comes My Man' and `Mae' offer a more reserved approach to punk rock then the forceful `Too Much Blood'. Though perhaps disappointingly `National Anthem' is the only truly acoustic track on Handwritten; slow, soft and brooding Brian Fallon's emotionally empowering vocals are used to great affect which co-insides beautifully which the gentle guitar hook. It's just a shame there are less of these moments throughout, though the bonus addition of the album showcases a few live acoustic versions of past fan favourites should you be left craving more like myself.

Overall The Gaslight Anthem has done a fantastic effort with Handwritten. Stripped down and catchy it's definitely an album which adds something refreshing and new to their catalogue. Though it doesn't quite blow me away it certainly has its moments making it a perfect example of how punk should be done for a new era of fans. (Hope you're listening Green Day)

Standout Tracks: "45", Howl, National Anthem

For Fans of: Against Me, Frank Turner, Bruce Springsteen
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good album, 3 Aug 2012
This review is from: Handwritten (Audio CD)
Been a massive Gaslight Anthem fan since buying 'The '59 Sound' a few years ago. However I was somewhat dissapointed by their follow-up 'American Slang' which seemed to be lacking the heart of the previous albums. But Handwritten I'm glad to say is much better. Great catchy tunes with amazing lyrics from Fallon. Also a nice mix of slower and acoustic songs to round-up the album.

Song by song:
1. '45' 10/10 - Awesome song and absolutely perfect start to the album. The sing along chorus gets you hooked straight away and the lyrics have some real passion and heart behind them, as we've come to expect from Gaslight.
2. Handwritten 9/10 - ANother great song. Really touching lyrics in this one and the vocals are very good throughout. My only issue is I'm not too fond of the 'woh-oh' vocals in the intro.
3. Here Comes My Man 7/10 - Good song seemingly written from a woman's perspective. Intro is a bit bland compared with other songs on the album.
4. Mulholland Drive 8/10 - This is a really great song with another great chorus. Really liking the guitar + solo in this one and the outro will definitely have you singing along.
5. Keepsake 8/10 - A bit of a darker feel in this song. The verses are very good with some good use of backing vocals. The chorus is very grand and you can hear the emotion in Fallon's voice. The interlude section could have progressed the song more I feel though.
6. Too Much Blood 8/10 - Very strong verse vocals from Fallon here in a more classic rock style. Chorus is really good and the lyrics throughout are awesome.
7. Howl 8/10 - This is a great fast-paced catchy song which is a bit more reminiscent of 'Sink or Swim'. LIke the lyrics in this one aswell - 'Does anything still move you, since you're educated now?'.
8. Biloxi Parish 9/10 - They've been playing this song live for awhile now. Great intro and verse and a chorus that will get stuck in your head for days. Sounds like a bit of a mash up of 'The '59 Sound' and 'American Slang' but in a good way.
9. Desire 6/10 - Not feeling this song as much as the others to be honest.
10. Mae 8/10 - A nice slower song hear so you can really appreciate Fallon's vocals and lyrics. Sounds more like 'The '59 Sound' here.
11. National Anthem 7/10 - Heartfelt acoustic song to end the album.

Overall 8.5/10
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Gaslight Anthem evolved, 18 Oct 2012
By 
Evan (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Handwritten (Audio CD)
This is a great album. The album shows a band whose sound has evolved a little from the last album and certainly a lot from their first offering.

45, Handwritten, Here Comes My Man, Mullholland Drive and Too Much Blood are instantly likeable with the Too Much Blood in-particular sounding far heavier (think KISS/70's hard rock riffs). Mullholland Drive is very much a GLA song, great lyrics and great song. Keepsake is far more anthem like with solo guitars and great lyrics - one of the longer songs on the album too. Howl is very GLA also with fast guitars and typical GLA lyrics. Biloxi Parish carries some of the 70's style heavier riffs through but isn't all that memorable a song. Desire is instantly GLA but like some of their earlier stuff, can blend into the songs before and after it. Mae is a slower affair while National Anthem is anti climactic for the album but a great melodic song in it's own right - very GLA.

Overall, I think it's a great album. Not their best in my opinion, but rarely do you hear newer, more recent albums from a band when you've already made up your mind about their sound, your favourite song or favourite album. For me it's a toss up between American Slang and The 59 Sound. Handwritten is almost as good.
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4.0 out of 5 stars 'Everything You've Ever Heard Before Yet...', 9 Oct 2014
By 
Antony May (East Sussex, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Handwritten (Audio CD)
'Handwritten' is the only record I have ever heard by The Gaslight Anthem but I have to say I doubt it will be the last!

The clever thing about this record is that the whole album has a familiar feel about it in so much as the bands influences/ inspirations come through load and clear yet, somehow, the group manage to successfully retain their own unique identity. I hear plenty of Cheap Trick influences here, yet tracks like the title track and 'Biloxi Parish' evoke memories of that 'Scottish guitar' of Big Country's.

Most of the album is uptempo and has a commercial rather than hardcore edge to it but the album is anything but samey and is all the better for that. 'Keepsake' has a killer guitar riff but is melodic and restrained while single "45" and "Desire" have an anthem like quality to them. Then, to finish off we get the best song Bob Dylan never wrote in the acoustic 'National Anthem'.

I don't think this album quite has the guns to qualify as a classic album but it is a consistently good set with no fillers and plenty of tracks you will want to hear again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great band, great album!, 5 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Handwritten (Audio CD)
This was the first Gaslight Anthem CD I have purchased and I am stunned! Rarely does new music hit me as hard as these guys have. Lyrics from the heart and loud guitar driven stuff that would suit any rock enthusiast!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars gets better every time you listen, 4 Oct 2012
This review is from: Handwritten (Audio CD)
Good songs on first listen and get better with each play. Many references to other musicians-will leave you to judge for yourselves who comes to mind as you listen yourselves. Not copy-cats! Very individual style- give it a go!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gassed Up, 6 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Handwritten (Audio CD)
Handwritten is another 'mature' Gaslight Anthem album much in the mold of 'American Slang.' It is tight, well recorded, and sounds very much like a continuation of this record with a few, not so helpful, additions.

Brendan O'Brien - who did so much to wreck Springsteen's recent output, is at the controls. Fallon seems to like him, but I sure don't. He makes Fallon's voice sound forced on nearly every track, and the vocals lack the colour and subtlety achieved on '59 Sound' and 'American Slang'. The band is still tight as a drum, but not as imaginative as on the previous two records. Also, Fallon is now very much the 'writer' and his self consciousness grates a bit.

That being said, the Gaslight are just full of energy, ideas, songs and sheer balls to blow away most bands. I particularly like 45, Mulholland Drive, Too Much Blood, Handwritten, etc. The covers at the end of the deluxe are good, but not essential except for fans.

They are a great live band, and are playing the UK behind this in the autumn. Very well worth seeing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An album of contrasts, still great though!, 4 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Handwritten (Audio CD)
I've been listening to the Gaslight Anthem since Sink Or Swim and I have loved everything they have produced since. The 59' Sound was an instant favourite album of mine whereas American Slang had to grow on me yet now I can barely choose between the two. This is the same with Handwritten. When you first listen to the CD the outstanding '45' is what everyone has come to expect from Gaslight; a hugely catchy song with a great riff and an awesome chorus but then the album explores new territory. I have never considered TGA to be Punk at all and this album is certainly a lot more bluesy than the previous offerings with songs like Too Much Blood, Keepsake and Biloxi Parish but they have also rediscovered their heavier sound from Sink Or Swim and the odd songs such as Orphans from American Slang whilst also showing a mellower side (quite a contradiction I know but once you listen to the album you'll see where I'm coming from). Fallon's voice has never sounded better; even more passion and even more of Fallon himself has been put into the lyrics and songs than ever before. Don't expect a replica of 59' Sound because you will be disappointed. I personally love this new sound, it took me a couple of listens for this album to grow on me completely but now that it has it is definitely on the same level as American Slang if not quite reaching the dizzy heights of 59' Sound.
If you want to listen to some songs which truly epitomise this album listen to 45, Too Much Blood, Desire and Mae.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine, but a step backwards for them., 24 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Handwritten (Audio CD)
When I saw this was out, I immediately bought it. I was a massive fan about all of their previous albums, however this one is distinctly average and seems like they've just churned out most of the tracks for the album, the lyrics on a lot of them seem rushed and shallow. It's a lot more mainstream than some of the older stuff and seems to have lost a lot of its soul along the way. It's fine, not bad but not good. I think first time listeners will enjoy it a lot more than die hard fans.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 30 July 2012
By 
Mr. N. J. Legge "Nick" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Handwritten (Audio CD)
I've been a big fan of TGA since seeing them at Hyde park and I've seen them twice more since and they are one of the best live bands out there.

Whilst American Slang was OK I did think it was trying a little too hard to be more commercial and this album is a step in the right direction for the band with a much heavier sound that replicates their live performances (where the American Slang songs sound so much better!).

To me their songs are about great hooks coupled with highly evocative and emotional lyrics that really lift you - and this album is no exception.

I love this band and can't wait to see them live again in October!!
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