The Horrible Crowes – Elsie


Album

Elsie

Label

Sideonedummy Records

Year

2011

Genre

For Fans Of

Tom Waits - The Gaslight Anthem

Summary

More brilliance from one of the finest song writers around at the moment.

Rating

90 / 100

Brian Fallon, frontman of The Gaslight Anthem, claimed that whilst TGA fulfils his Bruce Springsteen fantasy, he also secretly wants to be like Tom Waits, enter: The Horrible Crowes.

The Horrible Crowes is a duo made up of Fallon and longtime friend Ian Perkins, who is also Gaslight’s guitar tech, that write music vastly different to what we have come to expect from Fallon, however just as good. Fallon’s song writing brilliance is no secret and on the debut record ‘Elsie he is able to experiment and flex his musical muscle in the realm of dark, slow, soul tunes.

The songs have a strong focus on melody and rhythm without ever over-complicating themselves. There are plenty of piano and string lines used to both compliment and offset the vocal melodies giving colour where it is needed.

Opening track Last Rites is a short number that lets the listener know straight off the bat what they are in for, songs that the band members refer to as “night time music.” It is clear that this is by no means a Fallon solo record as Perkins makes his presence known and is a worthy rival in the story telling and vocal department.

The album’s first single Behold The Hurricane is the most “Gaslight” sounding song on the record, probably chosen as the single to try and hook the Gaslight fans in. Guitar driven with a strong chorus, the song is in itself unlike anything else on the rest of the album but also one of the highlights.

Lyrically the tracks don’t vary from the usual topics explored by Gaslight and just about everyone else but the difference is how these topics are discussed. The main theme is the exploration of people, the dark feel of the music lends itself to the darker subject matter in tracks like Ladykillers and Black Betty And The Moon, both brilliantly conveying stories of betrayal.

Whilst the songs all suit each other, giving the album a nice flow, there are various genre influences slipped into the tracks, such us a reggae feel in I Witnessed A Crime or the blues rock of Mary Ann, Fallon’s most “Tom Waits” moment. The album ends with another highlight, the soft but powerful Jesus Brought Us Together, the type of song that silences those listening to it and leaves you thinking.

Conclusion

There has been plenty of singer/songwriter gems of late, especially from artists related to the punk rock world, but The Horrible Crowes seem to be currently in the lead. Brian Fallon’s song writing talents are undeniable and ‘Elsie’ succeeds in showing a very different side to the man and his abilities whilst being a strong debut for this fantastic new project.

Tracklisting

1. Last Rites
2. Sugar
3. Behold the Hurricane
4. I Witnessed a Crime
5. Go Tell Everybody
6. Cherry Blossoms
7. Ladykiller
8. Crush
9. Mary Ann
10. Black Betty & the Moon
11. Blood Loss
12. I Believe Jesus Brought Us Together

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