New Music Review: Horrible Crowes; Elsie [Listen]
When it comes to side-projects many fans eagerly await the release of the album or try to forget it is even happening. There is a fear that is generally associated with side projects leaving fans to wonder if the main band is at jeopardy or if the person, in this case Brian Fallon, is looking to fill a void the original band can’t fulfill. In my case I was extremely excited, Brian is a great talent who has a lot to share with his fans and if this album is any indication we won’t have to worry about The Gaslight Anthem breaking up any time soon.
At first you can’t help but compare The Horrible Crowes with The Gaslight Anthem, and that is natural, but once you get passed that stage you quickly see that the two are nothing alike. Where The Gaslight Anthem is, well, anthemic and packed with teenage angst, The Horrible Crowes is stripped down rock brought back down to its core.
Slow, melodic and filled with emotion, “Elsie” shows us a side of Brian we only get a glimpse of in his main outfit. The Horrible Crowes continue to stay true to their classic rock roots of Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash and show their true musicianship in the most vulnerable way. You see Brian’s signature on this album with his gritty, soulful voice and sometimes off beat vocal timings along with his lyrics of himself being young and longing to take back mistakes he made along the way.
Their first single “Behold the Hurricane” (listen below) is reminiscent of a Gaslight Anthem song however, it does have its own personality. You truly feel Brian pouring himself into these songs yet he does like to keep true to his roots and place the typical rock format of intro-verse-pre-chorus-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus. Definitely the most “radio friendly” song on this album I feel it is a great reflection of the bands sound.
My personal favorite song on this album is “I Witnessed a Crime” which features an organ played underneath the entire song and provides a great foundation. Written with an almost soul vision in mind, Brian overlays his vocals in a Bob Dylan esque approach. The song certainly makes you want to move and creates a vision of a smokey bar with a three piece band playing a secret show to an audience who has no idea who they are. It fills something in me that I truly can’t explain but I am in love with this song and feel that it could potentially be a fan favorite.
I certainly cannot say that there aren’t little bits and pieces of The Gaslight Anthem in this album but you almost have to look past that. Some songs leave you scratching your head and making you think that they should probably be featured on the next The Gaslight Anthem album but, for some reason, Brian decided to throw them on here. When said and done “Elsie” is a great album that will be found on a lot of iPods (thought about saying cd racks but…). Brian needed to create an album for himself and did a great job with The Horrible Crowes. I, for one, hope both of his bands can live simultaneously and create great music for years to come. If they can’t, I can live with either or, just as long as they keep playing music like this.
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