Young man with an old soul

Kapi-Mana News - - REVIEW -

The An­them Hand­writ­ten

(Mer­cury) There’s some­thing about this hearton- their- sleeve New Jersey band that makes you feel younger the louder you twist the vol­ume knob.

Much of their ap­peal comes down to front­man Brian Fal­lon, a young man with an old soul, en­am­oured with the ro­mance of rock’n’roll, clas­sic cars and sailor tat­toos. He’s a devo­tee of Bruce Spring­steen, fu­elled by a punk rock rhythm sec­tion.

Hand­writ­ten is the band’s fourth record and their best to date.

The ur­gency of punk and earnest­ness of The Boss are still there but less con­sciously than in the past.

Rather than name-check their heroes or favourite songs in ev­ery sec­ond verse, they’re just fo­cused on mak­ing glo­ri­ous, fist­pump­ing rock’n’roll that sounds all their own.

‘‘Have you seen my heart? Have you seen Gaslight

– how it bleeds?’’ cries Fal­lon on first sin­gle 45. Oh boy, have we ever. But ev­ery re­gret or pledge of de­vo­tion is fil­tered through an en­dear­ing shade of nos­tal­gia.

When he vows to write his sweet­heart in the ti­tle check, it is by the light of the moon and ‘‘ev­ery word hand­writ­ten’’.

There’s noth­ing tricky or flashy to what The Gaslight An­them does.

It’s meat and pota­toes gui­tar-driven rock, they just hap­pen to be do­ing it bet­ter than any­one else right now, and have a singer­song­writer who can make even the most in­nocu­ous lyrics sound like they came down on a tablet from Mount Si­nai.

This is rock’n’roll at its most vis­ceral and vi­tal.

Matthew Dal­las Old Crow Medicine Show – Carry Me Back

(ATO/Shock) Yee-haw, Old Crow Medicine Show are back.

The five- piece re­vival­ists of all things old-timey got a lit­tle lost try­ing to play rock’n’roll on 2008’s Ten­nessee Pusher. Though it had its high­lights, the record lacked spirit, an ac­cu­sa­tion you could never level at their live show.

Carry Me Back gets a lot closer to the en­ergy and at­ti­tude the band muster in front of a crowd, and their bluegrass and folk in­flu­ences are to the fore, as they were on their 2004 Gillian Welch/David Rawl­ings en­dorsed de­but. It may have some­thing to do with the re­cent de­par­ture of singer-gui­tarist Wil­lie Wat­son and re­turn of co-founder Crit­ter Fuqua, who wrote many of the humdingers on the first record.

Quite sim­ply, if you think you might like cheeky bug­gers armed with a smokin’ fid­dle and more South­ern charm than a Ten­nessee Wil­liams play, OCMS will go down a treat.

The open­ing tri­fecta of foot-stom­per Carry Me Back to Vir­ginia, thigh-slap­per We Don’t Grow Tobacco and heart­breaker Levi is a won­der­ful lead in to one of the most en­joy­able coun­try records in re­cent years.

Matthew Dal­las


Break­ing out: The Gaslight An­them are more than just the sum of their in­flu­ences on their bril­liant new al­bum Hand­writ­ten.

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