If you’ve been pining for The Gaslight Anthem ever since they announced their hiatus, then you need pine no longer, for Brian Fallon, at least, is back with a solo album that in all honesty, pretty much picks up exactly where Gaslight let off.
What Fallon has done is taken the songs that he has made his name writing and stripped them back, not to the bare bones, this isn’t an acoustic affair, but to the point where that small amount of punk that was part of The Gaslight Anthem is gone. Whether that is a good thing or not, is almost entirely down to your opinion.
It’s no real secret that The Gaslight Anthem we are not really a punk band, they had that element but it’s not what they’ve made their name from. So, if like many, they were the very end of your spectrum of what you were willing to listen to, then this album isn’t for you. It’s singer-songwriter stuff with a bit of a rock edge but there is no aggression here. It’s the kind of music you could play to your mum and she would probably love it.
However, if like me, Brian Fallon’s songwriting has a direct link to your brain, then this album will hit the mark. It’s nothing special, but it is more songs from a guy who just writes beautiful words. They are tracks that make you want to pack up a bag hit the road and see what happens. If your modus-operandi is coming of age films and dreams, then Brian Fallon will scratch that itch and have you purring like a cat as tracks like ‘Steve McQueen’ wrap you in a warm blanket and rock you to sleep.
Painkillers isn’t perfect. It is essentially Gaslight Anthem-lite and there will be those that question why Fallon even bothered. But if you love that band and just want more of what makes them great, then this album will give you everything you want and more.