Gaslight Anthem's Latest CD Bleeds On-The-Sleeve, Gusto Emotion
Following a brilliant side project, The Horrible Crowes, singer/songwriter Brian Fallon returns with Gaslight Anthem's major label debut, "Handwritten," a big-sounding, high-octane revival
Brian Fallon, now 32 and frontman of The Gaslight Anthem, must have sparkled after he, as a 13-year-old American kid from Jersey, discovered one of the most influential records of the Redcoat punk scene: The Clash's self-titled debut which chartered dub, reggae, rockabilly, funk, and ska. Fallon discovered a British aesthetic that forever changed the musical landscape in the '70s. This revolutionary underground welded, nailed, and taped bits and pieces of rock and roll for the disaffected youth of the world. Forty years later, the punk rock sounds of the past are alive and well thanks to singers like Fallon. And while Fallon's New Jersey com padres, The Gaslight Anthem, aren't a combo pack of varying styles and tastes that were perfected by the Clash duo of Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, Fallon's attraction to the right music clearly honed his edges as the adept songwriter he is today. Handwritten, Gaslight's fourth full-length recording and first for Mercury Records, isn't perfect, but it is a full-on testament and continuation of punk sounds and folk ethos that Gaslight has embodied since their creation in 2005.
Following a side project The Horrible Crowes—a two-piece of Fallon and TGA guitar tech Ian Perkins who released a delicate, introspective record, Elsie, early last year—Fallon puts Gaslight back on the road with 15 brand new rockers to mix in the set list. Where earlier records, The band;s earlier recordings--The '59 Sound and American Slang--are consistent with their thinking-man's post punk anthems and Fallon mixes romantic gusto, whispers of post-bebop jazz ("Miles Davis and the Cool") and a waft of a sultry lounge scene ("The Diamond Church Street Choir". Handwritten, however,is a more straight up classic martini: gin please; no lemon spirals; little vermouth; garnished simply with skewered olives.
Musically, one could draw comparisons to the fertile classic radio era of Billy Squier's Don't Say No with a bigger, glossier sound than previous records. There's a Soungarden-esque number "Too Much Blood" and notebook of jottings taken from the Tom Petty school of guitar.