So often in the music industry, we see artists leave the comfort of their past lives. They leave the bands that grew with them as musicians, sometimes it’s amicable other times it is in a fiery explosion that rocks their fanbase to the core. In Brian Fallon’s case, we find a lead singer who has in many ways shown that very fanbase that the new music he has created the last few years, is still as tried and true as The Gaslight Anthem’s The ’59 Sound (2008), which turns 10 this year. It had been almost 2 years from TGA’s last album release Get Hurt (2014) when Fallon released his first solo album Painkillers (2016), an album which sought to recontextualize Fallon as more of a singer/songwriter as opposed to the rock n’ roll frontman and lead singer of The Gaslight Anthem. Looming in the shadows of The Gaslight Anthem’s uncertain future, the heavily Americana driven album lead Fallon down a road to a solo career which seems to have a bright future. With his upcoming sophomore release, Sleepwalkers, scheduled for February 9th, 2018, Fallon seems to recapture a familiar band-oriented album, all the while retaining the new sound we grew accustomed to on Painkillers, but still sounding nothing like The Gaslight Anthem. While Sleepwalkers is a departure from Painkillers, it seems to be less sonically cohesive. While the album is an absolute pleasure to listen to it doesn’t seem to have the same thematic yearning for another sepia-toned time and place like so many of Fallon’s past writings. Sleepwalkers seems to be a letter for the times, reminding us all that regardless of where the “scene” is heading, we still have artists who are willing to sit down, open a vein and bleed.
At a time when so many convictionless artists are cramming musical sewage down our throats, it is reassuring to see someone, stand up and say no to the “Pop Culture” rabble. With that being said there are quite a few standout tracks on this album, two of which have already been heard as singles, If Your Prayers Don’t Get to Heaven and Forget Me Not. Both songs, foot tappers, have a sense of altruistic hopeless romanticism and positivity which seem to contradict Fallon’s past low-down blues writings. For anyone who has listened to Fallon throughout his career, it is a well-known fact that the man is a hopeless romantic. Well, fear not, it has not been lost in his growth as an artist. He still writes about forlorn loves who, may not be named Maria, but still have the ability to have Fallon pluck at the heartstrings of the listener and reaffirm their faith is something that is bigger than themselves. From the opening, Motown inspired track, If Your Prayers Don’t Get to Heaven to the final track See You On the Other Side, also a single, Fallon makes Sleepwalkers a listening experience that is so relatable and palpable that although it isn’t a Gaslight album, it is still so unequivocally Fallon that any fan of the man and his music will instantly fall in love with an album that sheds a little “light and glory” to a rather bleak musical landscape. Sleepwalkers is scheduled for release on February 9th via Island Records. Check it out.