Listen to the full album over at Spinner.com.
It seems that whenever someone talks about Brian Fallon (frontman of The Gaslight Anthem), one immediately thinks of Bruce Springsteen. Admittedly, I don't listen to Springsteen that often, so I really can't make those comparisons. But, I don't think that that deters me from thoroughly enjoying the debut album Elsie from Fallon's side project with Ian Perkins, The Horrible Crowes.
Let me preface this review by saying that it's the albums that grow on me that unexpectedly become my favorite albums of the year. Having said that, it took me quite a few listens before I began to appreciate everything this album offers. Now, I feel that Elsie is better than any album from The Gaslight Anthem. The songs on Elsie are much more chill and soulful, quite a contrast from the modern rock qualities of recent The Gaslight Anthem albums, while Fallon's poetic lyrics, signature voice, and brilliant songwriting take the forefront. This is probably where the album truly shines. Some of the best music and lyrics come from the more winding tracks like "Cherry Blossoms" and "Blood Loss". I really loved "Ladykiller", the lyrics and music really resonated with me. Where this album is at its strongest, however, is during the track "Black Betty & the Moon". This masterpiece has to be one of the best songs ever written, with Perkins' impressive guitar-work really showing. This album, however, isn't all chill. In songs like "Go Tell Everybody" and "Mary Ann", Fallon's vocals are more aggressive as he croons over the faster-paced melodies.
Elsie proves that Fallon has what it takes to be one of the best songwriters of our time. With some really solid releases with The Gaslight Anthem, and now with Elsie, his "opus", he has succeeded entirely. I look forward to hearing more from him as his career progresses.
Definitely check out The Horrible Crowes' new album Elsie. It is worth every listen.