The biggest concern when a lead singer of a popular band decides to form a side project is that it will sound too similar to the original. It’s understandable, considering that the main vocals often leave the most lasting impression on listeners.
Sometimes, singers’ second acts can sound totally different from the precursor, but more often it’s too difficult a feat to pull off.
Brian Fallon, founder of The Gaslight Anthem, recently took the plunge and landed somewhere in between. For the most part, his new project, The Horrible Crowes, sounds like a very toned-down version of his main gig. But it’s different enough to be more enjoyable than frustrating.
Formed about a year ago as a duo with guitar tech Ian Perkins, The Crowes put out their first album, Elsie, in September to solid reviews. Its 12 tracks go by quickly with a run time of about 45 minutes, so it’s natural to want to listen to the album a few times on repeat.
It’s mostly filled with slow-burning songs of lost love and the like. Unsurprisingly, the best tracks — “Behold the Hurricane” and “Ladykiller” — are the ones that sound the closest to Gaslight B-sides. But on this album, Fallon occasionally trades his Bruce Springsteen mimicry for Tom Waits-style grumbling.
The album is definitely a must-have for Gaslight loyalists, but it should also appeal to all indie rock fans alike.