Review Summary: The night came as it went, and I swear that I knew you before.
Over the last year, I have grown to love the music that Brian Fallon has made. It started, like most, with the Gaslight Anthem and The 59` Sound, but soon enough I delved into the other Gaslight records, The Horrible Crowes, and his solo albums. And I love it all. There is something about Brian`s raspy, yet earnest voice and heartfelt lyrics that are brilliant in being subtle. Not very often are his lyrics something like a Guy Clark, or even a Jason Isbell song who's brilliance in crafting songs is undeniable, something that Fallon himself would likely admit, yet there is beauty and brilliance in his words nonetheless.And I don`t say that to discredit Fallon at all, as his music is rewarded with repeated listens that reveals lyrical gems. songs like 1930, Here`s lookin at you kid, Have mercy, Smoke, even Painkillers and many many others are aching with some sadness, yet hope, and positivity. The way he can take something that is shockingly sad and make it sound upbeat, along with his ability to create melodies and hooks is something very rare and engaging.
Yet everything changes here. Gone are the loud anthems, the driving guitars, Brian testing his vocal range, instead we are greeted to a soft and subdued atmosphere. Fallon has tried to move in a different direction, moving past his signature calling card to show that he is not just a one trick pony. he doesn`t have to reference Springsteen in every song to resonate anymore, he has truly come into his own as an artist and songwriter. "When You`re Ready" is a sweet song about his daughter and how she will one day have a man who loves her half as much he does. 10 years this never would have happened, (Not just because he didn`t have kids) but he we are seeing his maturity as an artist and as a human being. Tracks like "21 days" talk about moving past a lost relationship, or kicking a bad habit, and it is cool how he manages to weave the two together. For me, "Vincent" hits hard, telling the tale of a woman moving past an abusive relationship, that just hits home, especially as Fallon manages to tell the story from her perspective. "Horses" is another standout, in which he talks of finding forgiveness in his relationship with his wife, and finding freedom there. There are lyrical gems scattered throughout this album that just hit me, the "Maybelline mask" mentioned in Vincent, even " My name is Jolene, but I hate that song" adds a twist to the way that Brian usually references other artists and music is genius, "She calls me baby like an old romantic" from hard feelings, and almost the entirety of "You Have Stolen My Heart.
This was the album that I didn`t know I wanted to hear from Brian Fallon. There was the chance that a subdued record could have come off flat, but the atmosphere is so captivating and the instrumentation is still there, nothing crazy, yet beautifully placed that it all fits right. I for sure would have loved a couple more songs, but I am not complaining at all. All in all, it has been fun to see an artist as talented as Brian Fallon make a seemingly tough transition from loud rocker to singer/songwriter with such ease and with such beauty in his music as well, shows that he has added another skill to his repertoire.