There’s a charm and authenticity here, alongside some top quality songwriting.
Label: Island Records
Released: 11th March 2016
Brian Fallon’s debut solo effort, ‘Painkillers’ is a lighter version of The Gaslight Anthem’s usual rockier sound, but with Americana influences still holding strong.
‘A Wonderful Life’ begins with twanging guitars and toe-tapping drums, ascending to joyful group vocals. It’s a safe option for lead single. Throughout title-track ‘Painkillers’ the fragility of Fallon’s vocals mirrors the anguish of the song as he screams, “come on and use me up, oh don’t you love the way I drag you down?” It’s clear a huge effort has been put into the lyricism.
Unsurprisingly with a producer like Butch Walker, country influences shine through. There’s a grittiness to all the tracks and a real sense of raspy, old-fashioned storytelling. There’s space for the romantic, acoustic numbers though, with ‘Steve McQueen’ a nod to the quieter moments of Gaslight’s catalogue. There’s a charm and authenticity here, alongside some top quality songwriting. Kathryn Black