With The Gaslight Anthem on indefinite hiatus, frontman Brian Fallon has kept busy by kicking off his solo career. The first fruits of said career? Painkillers – an album that will do nothing to shake off those Bruce Springsteen comparisons (that justifiably followed TGA over the years), but still cement Fallon as a quality American singer-songwriter. Nothing like the similarly-titled Judas Priest record then…
Gone are the roughened edges of the earlier Gaslight Anthem days, leaving a slick set of blue-collar classic rock tunes. Fallon’s been writing and releasing music since he was 17 (he’s now 36), and it shows – in a very good way. These are songs that sound like the products of an experienced, though not jaded musician; not entirely dissimilar to his fellow American tattooed-blokes-with-acoustic-guitars (Chuck Ragan, Dave Hause etc).
Pretty acoustic beginnings in the likes of Nobody Wins swell into anthemic, singalong odes to the everyman. Fallon may be a rootsy writer at heart, but his stance is decidedly aspirational – creating a poetic, articulate forum for very ‘real’ sentiments. Lyrically we have pensive kitchen sink poetry and tales of lovelorn angst (“most of the sparks are just sweet little cherry bombs” he sings on the title track), but musically this feels destined for warm, summery festivals. Big ones.
Soft troubadour rock with real depth and maturity.