The Gaslight Anthem is one of the most influential punk rock bands of the last decade, and with their rich melodies and entrancing hooks, there isn’t much room for argument. Brian Fallon (lead vocalist for Gaslight Anthem and Horrible Crowes) has been writing and recording songs since his mid-teens. It all started for him with a limited EP release under a band called No Release, and went on to create This Charming Man in 2005, which later became The Gaslight Anthem. And now, with the help of his guitar tech and long-time friend, Ian Perkins, Fallon has decided to take a break from punk rock to find his darker side.
When asked about the style of music Fallon had this to say, “Check it out. It’s a dark commentary on life…. It’s the darker side of soul music, it’s slow, it slithers, and it’s raw. At the same time the melodies and pianos are a juxtaposition to the topic material because it’s eerily soothing.”
While listening to their debut album Elsie another word came to mind… Gothic. No, not goth punk or goth rock, but gothic in the sense that every song has a chilling eccentricity that gives in to the gloomy and soothing rhythms of the pianos and the vocals.
While the entire album is outstanding, there are certain songs that stand out from the rest. First “Behold the Hurricane” shines through as the main single of this album. This song gives the impression of being upbeat, and although it is the most upbeat song on the entire album, the lyrics give a far more depressing image. Images of death and destruction and the quick passing of time come out in this soon to be hit single. “Ladykiller” is another notable track and sure to be a hit as well. Highly aggressive vocals almost overtake this folk rock melody. If Johnny Cash and Against Me! could get together and make folk punk rock lullaby of sorts, this would be it. Another song that stuck out was “Black Betty & The Moon”. The story in this song describes a relationship that was built up over a number of years and then crashes almost effortlessly. The woman (Betty) breaks up with her boyfriend (or husband) and tries to quickly fill her meaningless void with money. She realizes that money isn’t enough and wishes they could be back together.
The Horrible Crowes set out to be a “dark commentary on life”, and they definitely achieved this. Although the album is sinister, it does have its lighter moments. Elsie tries to show true life through the art of music instead of a fantasy world that will never be. Fallon has deep roots in folk, rock, and soul music, and it shows. The songs seemed to be most influenced by Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Modest Mouse, Of Montreal, Mumford & Sons, and Jonathan Richman.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that this album is marvelous, and just like Gaslight Anthem, this album will have a vast influence on music for years to come. I would have to give this album at least a solid 4 and perhaps even a 4.5/5. It seems that the most depressing albums can never find a huge audience, and mainly because mainstream music is often upbeat and happy (despite what the lyrics may be), but whether Brian Fallon wanted them to or not, I think Horrible Crowes will find a place amongst the popularity of Gaslight Anthem and possibly even beyond.
This post was written by:
Chris Meyers – When Chris Meyers isn’t helping out with writing and conducting interviews with bands, he can be found refusing to giving up his seat to little old ladies on the bus because he’s a jerk. Sometimes.