Brian Fallon has a very distinct sound. His raspy, before-you-clear-your-throat-in-the-morning voice fronts New Jersey’s punk-esque quartet The Gaslight Anthem, which have put out two stellar releases thus far. Elsie, the debut from Fallon’s The Horrible Crowes side project, turns down the amps and pace a bit, and for the most part, forgoes Fallon’s signature howl in lieu of an intimate whisper.
Fans of Gaslight will still be treated to detailed lyrics, stories of blue-collar characters, and vivid imagery, but if they’re expecting the same ceiling-sailing anthems, they’ll be disappointed. It’s not a high-energy album; it’s subtle, mellow rock. But it does bobble some. Songs “Mary Ann” and “Go Tell Everybody” are musically two of the more upbeat tracks on the effort. “I’ve been known to wear a fine, black suit and a murder of a tie/I’ve got miles on my shoes that your brothers can’t buy,” Fallon declares on the latter, which at times resembles “Bring It On” from Gaslight’s most recent album, American Slang, indicating that this album wasn’t meant to stray too far off.
However, from the first few seconds of opener “Last Rites”, slow keys set the tone for a softer experience – and that may or may not work with his fans. As aforementioned, Fallon can still shine a rusty lyric, and “I Believe Jesus Brought Us Together” features some of his best work yet, offering a beautiful, poetic point of view. That’s the real gem here, though: the intimacy. As a result, Elsie begs for the late-night meanderings, sometime after the party, when your mind needs a personal escape. Or, following a couple of fast-paced Gaslight albums. Your pick.
Essential Tracks: “Go Tell Everybody”, “Behold the Hurricane”, and “I Believe Jesus Brought Us Together”