Brian Fallon

Brian Fallon

Brian Fallon

Painkillers

Island

Ya know how Morgan Freeman has the kind of warm hug voice, the kind you’d love to have read you to sleep at night? Brian Fallon’s voice is nothing like that, his voice is the kind that could soundtrack nostalgic memories of your youth. There are voices that conjure images and color emotions. As Morgan Freeman gives a sense of comfort, Brian Fallon offers blue feelings of delicious heartache — the pain that hurts so bad that you wear it like a safety vest. Often, and rightly so, compared to Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, Fallon bleeds on the page and sings from his gut rather than his diaphragm. It can be scratchy and off key at times, but it’s in these imperfections where truth can be found.

Painkillers is his first solo effort, but he’s been writing and playing these kinds of songs for years as the frontman for The Gaslight Anthem. Songs about love, ache, loss, regret, and a sweet romanticizing of the past. Left on his own, and under the tutelage of producer Butch Walker, the songs are stripped back, but not so bare as to be the acoustic folk record you may expect. Fallon’s crisp guitar melodies, that sound familiar even upon the first listen, are backed by a full band complete with backup singers, and the result is a sound that feels like it was unearthed from the sands of baseball fields, or scraped off the tires of classic cars parked at shiny roadside diners.

There’s a maturity in the songcraft and, coupled with the pristine production, the resulting collection of songs is damn near perfect. Opening song “A Wonderful Life” is an upbeat, boot stomper with handclaps slipped in at the appropriate parts that holds the balance between the desire to live and the fear of failing. Sonically it doesn’t stray far from Gaslight territory and that’s reassuring because this is the field where Fallon plays strongest. Title track, “Painkillers” aches for “love like it was a drug” and thus the album’s theme is revealed. What we want most is often what can hurt us the worst, and more often than not that thing is Love.

A song by song breakdown seems indulgent and unnecessary because what more can be said about heartfelt blue collar American rock ‘n’ roll that hasn’t already been said? Except I will say this, “Steve McQueen” is one of the best songs Fallon has ever written, a soul baring cinematic campfire song that came from the same songwriting space as a couple of my favorite Gaslight songs, “Here’s Lookin’ At You Kid” and “Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts.”

Music like this sounds so simple, yet it’s so hard to do right. Fallon makes it look easy.

thebrianfallon.tumblr.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Bishop Briggs
    Bishop Briggs

    Bishop Briggs brings a stacked bill of up and comers to Orlando for a sold-out party at The Social. Jen Cray joins in the fun.

  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World
    Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

    There’s more than black music influencing the evolution of Rock and Roll. Native American rhymes and ideas are every bit as significant, once you know to look for them.

  • Keith Morris
    Keith Morris

    Ink 19 slings a few questions to the punk rock pioneer Keith Morris on Trump, Calexit and looking back.

  • Soul Understated
    Soul Understated

    Soul Understated was a swizzle stick of jazz, funk, pop with a dash of Radiohead in the delightful DC cocktail.

  • Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu
    Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu

    That Trip We Took With Dad is the debut feature by acclaimed Romanian short film director Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu. Generoso Fierro sat down with Lǎzǎrescu during SEEFest to discuss the comedy and drama within the adaptation of her deeply personal family story for the screen.

  • Aware
    Aware

    The Book Of Wind (Glacial Movements). Review by Carl F Gauze.

  • BANG: The Bert Berns Story
    BANG: The Bert Berns Story

    The music biz collides with the mob in this documentary chronicling the fast and dangerous life of legendary ’60s songwriter, producer, record mogul, Bert Berns.

  • The Suicide Commandos
    The Suicide Commandos

    Time Bomb (Twin/Tone). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tricot
    Tricot

    3 (Topshelf Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Bush
    Bush

    One of the most successful rock bands of the ’90s attracted thousands of fans to its recent Orlando concert. Christopher Long was there.

From the Archives