Brian Fallon - ‘Sleepwalkers’ (Island Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Phil Cooper   
Wednesday, 07 February 2018 04:00

Brian Fallon artworkSince the Gaslight Anthem went on hiatus, main man Brian Fallon has not been idle. Over the last few years he has continued to be actively involved in music from being one half of The Horrible Crowes duo as well as releasing solo efforts such as previous album ‘Painkillers’. ‘Sleepwalkers’ represents the latest offering from the New Jersey singer songwriter, 12 new tracks that have the aim of further developing his solo credentials. With the possibility of Gaslight reunion shows in the not too distant future, it seems that the work load will increase and see Mr. Fallon back with a full band. What can be expected from him once more, on his own.

 

Album opener ‘If Your Prayers Don’t Get To Heaven’, opens with a catchy hook, that layers up from a simple jaunty guitar riff. The percussion and addition guitars are gradually introduced until the texture is fully rounded out with the vocals being the final piece. With a Motown edge to the underlying groove, it’s easy to see why this was chosen as one of the single releases. To fans of his previous work this style will not come as a surprise as it echoes not only his solo sound but also some of the latter Gaslight work. To people who may have only just come across him, it provides a great introduction into his song writing style and the some of the influences he takes on. There is still an edge to the track as it continues to build and the chorus sections provide the traditional big lift until the middle eight shifts it up a gear further.

 

‘Forget Me Not’ was the first single released back in October of last year. It again carries on the catchy groove from the album opener. However, there is more of the punk bite that was the trademark sound of early Gaslight anthem. With lyrics shouted with a raspy edge and a more aggressive attack on the guitar chords. The chorus section provides a sing-along lift with a slight melancholy undertone much like ’59 Sound’. With a delay laced arpeggio introduction ‘Come Wander With Me’ opens out into a swirling wall of sound. Once again, it’s a highly infectious number that the listener can’t help being drawn into and tap along to. It’s a further example of Fallon’s style of song-writing, uplifting, high energy chord progressions and melodies, coupled with a melancholy undertone of the lyrics that creates an engaging juxtaposition.

 

 

It's this lyricism that draws a lot of attention, as a writer Fallon can cover a widespread range of emotions and feelings. Often edging to a more philosophical angle for describing love and the human condition, his songs therefore possess a maturity that the listener can latch onto as opposed to containing clichés and bubble-gum lyrics that can be consumed and discarded at ease. Songs like ‘Forget Me Not’, ‘Her Majesty’s Service’ and ‘Little Nightmares’ are all fine examples of how the lyrics are written to not only entertain but also promote an emotional response from the listener. The levels to the song-writing are such that it is open to the listener’s interpretation on the feeling being conveyed, this therefore creates a great connection between the artist and audience.

 

It’s no secret that Brain Fallon is comfortable with displaying his influences. However, it’s all too easy to draw the connections between his style and that of Bruce Springsteen. His previous solo album saw the single ‘Wonderful Life’ draw upon The Boss to such an extent that it could be interpreted as a tongue in cheek rebuttal to the critics who labelled him as a new Bruce. ‘Sleepwalkers’ however, is not only most definitely a Brian Fallon album with all of his unique stylings, but also expands upon his influences and the genres that drive him. ‘If Your Prayers Don’t Get To Heaven’, is a modern re-working of the Motown sound with his own stamp on it. ‘My Name Is The Night (Color Me Black)’, is reminiscent of the sixties British rock ‘n’ roll sound with it’s introduction riff laced with fuzz sounding like it could be a creation of Keith Richards. The Stones vibe continues through the verse sections with a driving melody and leading into the sing-along chorus. It’s a track that gives the impression that he wanted to have a fun with the music writing process and pick out techniques that typify a classic rock ‘n’ roll style.

 

‘Sleepwalkers’ represents a great new offering from Brian Fallon. It showcases further his depth and talent as a solo singer-songwriter. It also builds on the influences that have been present in his work from his days in Gaslight Anthem through The Horrible Crowes and his other solo projects. Providing aspects from various genres including the punk, Motown and rock ‘n’ roll already mentioned, there’s also a healthy dose of R and B (the proper kind) thrown into the mix. Tying the different song styles together are the lyrics and the personal vocal inflection that mark the identity of Fallon. It’s a more rounded record than his previous solo album and contains more numbers that will work well with a live audience as well as serving to push him further to the forefront of today’s singer-songwriters.

 

‘Sleepwalkers’ is released on Friday (9 February). You can get your copy HERE.

 

Brian Fallon is touring in February and March:

 

Brian Fallon tour poster

 

In addition, The Gaslight Album have announced a series of shows to celebrate the tenth anniversary of ‘The ’59 Sound’. They include:

 

Friday 20 July - London, Eventim Apollo Hammersmith

Monday 23 July - Dublin, Vicar Street

Tuesday 24 July - Glasgow, Barrowland

Wednesday 25 July - Manchester, Eventim Apollo

 

www.facebook.com/thebrianfallon

 

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