Bruce Springsteen backed these Jersey boys on guitar during an Asbury Park show last year, and it’s easy to understand why he’s a fan. As a kid, Gaslight singer Brian Fallon lived a few blocks away from E Street, and the band’s fourth album, Handwritten, wears its hardcore-punk-meets-rust-belt-rock sincerity like a bandanna tucked into its back pocket — with songs about rivers and long roads and burnout jobs and guys who never forget where they came from. But unlike other Boss revivalists who treat America like a mythological concept (see: the Killers’ Sam’s Town), the band’s not just riffing on the heartland. They’re living in it, writing affecting tributes to real places you can find on a map (”Biloxi Parish,” ”Mulholland Drive”). Fallon claims the best way to see those places is to ”drive you around with the radio on,” and then he takes you on that trip, playing music that would thrive on any classic-rock station — from the grunge howl of ”Too Much Blood” to the Nebraska folk of ”National Anthem” and dusty-vinyl tribute ”45.” That last track compares flipping a record over to starting over in life, but these guys don’t embrace change so easily. And maybe that’s okay. Their album is everything its title suggests: old-school, DIY, and so heartfelt, its emotions might as well be tattooed on its knuckles. B+
RIGHTEOUS ROCK This musical road trip through America features genuine lyrics and heartfelt melodies (Danny Clinch)
Genre: Rock; Music Label: Mercury
Posted August 23 2012 — 12:00 AM EDT
- New 'witch noir' comic 'Black Magick' casts a spell -- exclusive first look
- Ben Affleck on being cast as Batman: 'My first reaction was, 'Are you sure?''
- 'Maze Runner': Dylan O'Brien in new 'Scorch Trials' photo
- 13 reasons why 'Fast & Furious 6' has the greatest barbecue
Shark Week 2015:
Eli Roth previews Shark After Dark
- Spoiler Room: Scoop on 'Agent Carter,' 'Hawaii Five-0,' 'You’re the Worst' and more
- Tracy Morgan visits Disney to celebrate daughter's birthday
- 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice': 6 EW exclusive photos
- Comic-Con 2015 preview: 10 panels we can't wait to see
- 'Seinfeld' faves: Where are they now?
- 14 high school movies that defined their year
- 26 TV faves you forgot were in 'Seinfeld' episodes
- Miranda Kerr, Ewan & Chiwetel, Karlie Kloss & More!