Brian Fallon’s Sleepwalkers is the inspired rock’n’roll record we needed

The New Jersey singer delivers one of the most addictive and upbeat records he’s ever written. 

Recorded at New Orleans’ Parlor Recording Studio with producer Ted Hutt, who also produced The Gaslight Anthem’s iconic The ’59 Sound record, Sleepwalkers promises to see Fallon take a more energetic direction with slightly (aka a lot) darker lyrics. When talking about the writing process, he said:”You just start putting the pen down and for me, a lot of the times it’s like music is there and then I’ll just kind of start. All of a sudden a line will come out or an idea will emerge and then I’ll realise, ‘yeah, that’s good.’”

“It just kind of came out happy, the music was really happy but then all of a sudden these heavy words came out and I was like I guess that’s just the way its going to be.” he continues.

Few musicians these days have the talent to deliver a timelessly good record from start to finish. And while Brian Fallon has always had an outstanding talent of writing heart-wrenching lyrics of love and heartbreak alongside classic rock’n’roll melodies, Sleepwalkers may just be his best work yet and cements his solo career being the right path to take.

If Your Prayers Don’t Get To Heaven has that rockabilly 60’s vibe mixed with Gaslight Anthem grungy-ness and Fallon’s raspy vocals. Similar to the themes in Forget Me Not, the song talks of love “till death do us part” and that hopeless romantic idea of a Bonnie & Clyde, ride-or-die kind of love.

And ride-or-die kind of love is what Sleepwalkers talks about well. On his debut solo album Painkillers, as well as on past records with The Gaslight Anthem, Fallon delivered hauntingly beautiful love songs – and such is the case on the new album as well. Sleepwalkers’ love songs carry the poetic depth we know and love. Ballads such as Etta James are sultry, soulful examples of just that.

The album’s title track Sleepwalkers presents a dive into more of a New Orleans sounds with swaying chorus and the saxophone drizzled in here and there, and adds the surprise element that just when you thought you had this record figured out, along comes Sleepwalkers. 

Tapping into Americana for some of the tracks such as Come Wander With Me or Proof of Life, the New Jersey singer adds his own little twist to all twelve songs on the record, one way or another, and ends up with a record that belongs among the classic rock albums of this generation and beyond.

Fallon wears his influences on the sleeve with this record, The Clash, Counting Crows and Joe Strummer just to name a few. At times the album has familiar Gaslight Anthem sounds, which could be stated as a fault for the record, but actually isn’t. With Fallon having been the main songwriter for the band back in the day, it just shows that he’s found his own ’59 Sound again without resting on past accomplishments.

Overall, the record feels timeless, like one of those old Springsteen or albums. And while some critics might call it rehashing of old time rather than innovative new songwriting, Sleepwalkers feels like an old friend that you’ve known for years and that you’ll still be hanging around with ten, twenty years down the line. And let’s be honest, that’s the kind of records that make the Springsteens of this world even if they may not win the hipster music awards that the critics hold so dearly.

If stories of love and heartache wrapped in some of the best lyrical writing of this generation, and dipped in old school, classic rock’n’roll with killer hooks is what we can expect from Fallon’s solo career then we are most definitely here for it – all the way.

He recently told NME: “I knew with this record that I just wanted to kind of concentrate more on the live show because I did a lot with the last record, and that was kind of acoustic. I was like ‘OK, I’ve done the acoustic thing and now I want to get something a little more up so the live shows will be more fun for me, more fun for everybody and I just wanted to put something more energetic together.”

Brian Fallon will be touring the UK in support of his upcoming second solo record. Together with The Howling Weather, Fallon’s new backing band, we can expect to hear new tracks he’s been working on and the on-stage charm we’ve come to know and love. What’s even better, Brian will be bringing along Dave Hause and The Mermaid. Plus, Brian will be playing a small in-store show for banquet records on 19 February at Kingston’s Hippodrome.

Here are those tour dates dates:

20 February – O2 Institute, Birmingham
21 February – O2 Ritz, Manchester
22 February – O2 ABC, Glasgow
23 February – KOKO, London
24 February – Rock City, Nottingham
25 February – SXW, Bristol
08 March – Boiler Shop, Newcastle
09 March – Beckett, Leeds