Brian Fallon shows that the long night drives and singin’ at the moon dreams have not faded with his new releases ‘A Wonderful Life’ and ‘Smoke’ from his first upcoming solo album Painkillers.
The split of blues-rock quartet The Gaslight Anthem in 2015 left a dent in many fans’ hearts; perhaps the reversed heart album artwork of their final release Get Hurt was a foreboding image of what was to come. All those fans waiting on a whisper of any news that the band might reform are not being left empty handed as Brian Fallon, the vocalist (and heart and soul of the band), is once again proving that he can’t leave his songwriting just on paper; in the same way that he did in 2011 when he bridged the gap between the band’s 2010 album American Slang and their 2012 offering Handwritten by forming the blues/soul-rock band The Horrible Crowes.
‘A Wonderful Life’ is the lead single released from the upcoming album; the song takes a lighter form than that of The Gaslight Anthem, perhaps closely related to the melodic-blues sounds of American Slang. The passion of Fallon’s music comes through instantly as his trademark half-smile rolls across his face with the opening lines, ‘Most of this life’s been a low of a high’, an action which mirrors the theme of the song.
The song is about wanting a life that you can enjoy, as opposed to a life where you just live to survive; a notion greatly shown by the joy-fuelled actions of the people in the music video as they live their own wonderful lives. This track was perhaps the best to open the album up as it shows that Fallon’s spirit has not been crushed by the hiatus of The Gaslight Anthem, but rather this is another step in his own journey.
Fallon’s newest track ‘Smoke’, which is released March 11th, takes the listener back to those hard New Jersey-an vocals which we came to know and love on The Gaslight Anthem’s 2007 record Sink or Swim. Each track that is released brings Painkillers closer to resembling that of Fallon’s Horrible Crowes side-project; with a much less sombre tone, however.
‘Smoke’ appears to detail the break-up of a relationship, and shows Fallon’s side of the trauma. Fallon once again brings those heartfelt and hate-fuelled lyrics which he writes so well. With lines such as ‘And the black clouds came, and darkened all our insides’, showing the dark, bleak world which surrounds you during the separation, and then ‘Your love, though like gold, is gone’, gives the essence of loneliness that is also felt.
As The Gaslight Anthem played their final shows at the Reading and Leeds Festival in summer 2015, you could almost see the tears in Fallon’s eyes as he sang out ‘Here’s Looking at You Kid’ to adoring fans as they cheered the band on one last time. Painkillers is carrying on that spirit.
Painkillers is released March 11th, 2016 through Virgin EMI, with an adjoining UK headlining tour that will see Alex Rosamilia of The Gaslight Anthem and Ian Perkins of The Horrible Crowes joining Fallon.
The tour dates are as follows:
5 – Manchester Ritz
6 – Glasgow 02 ABC
7 – Birmingham 02 Institute
8 – London KOKO
9 – Nottingham Rock City
10 – Bristol 02 Academy