The Horrible Crowes – ‘Elsie’ Review

I was both apprehensive and excited when I heard that The Gaslight Anthem front man was joining up with Ian Perkins (who played guitar with the band), this is really because I think The Gaslight Anthem are great, I feel they bring a sense of fun to their rather working class and sometimes poignant lyrics (“If I’m not your kind then don’t tell a soul, I’m not the one who hates being alone” and “my teenage heart pumped all my misery”); and I absolutely love that you can hear the rhythm guitar changing chord whilst the lead guitar remains the same and this creates a switch in the mood of the song. The reason I was apprehensive is because with many artists whom have side projects, they either never sound as good (Brandon Flowers, Morrissey) or they just churn out the same music, Them Crooked Vultures could easily have slipped into a QOTSA catalogue; however The Horrible Crowes avoid these pitfalls.

Brian Fallon has admitted that there has been a change in influence on this album “As much as I have this fantasy in the Gaslight Anthem of being Bruce Springsteen , I also have this fantasy of being Tom Waits or Greg Dulli”. Gone have the working class lyrics replaced with dark and reflecting ones: “did you say you were lonely, I was just about to miss you” and “I aged five years at the mention of your name”, Brian Fallon’s raspy vocals have never felt so heartfelt and they really compliment the soft guitar lines and piano. This is not to say the album is depressing there are more upbeat songs that occur throughout the album, such as Mary Ann and Go Tell Everybody; these give a much needed relief to the album.

What I love about this album is the rock and roll sound has been striped back and it feels much more like a soul album. I also love the pace of the album, it opens slowly, like a man begging for forgiveness, regretting what he has lost; the pace changes in the middle as he remembers the past before it then plunges you back down with the final three songs ending the album with a cry of redemption.

This album is not a second rate Gaslight Anthem, nor is it a solo record, what this album is is two creative minds coming together and producing an album that will stand the test of time. It is a must own album and one of the best I have heard this year.

My pick of the songs are: Go Tell Everybody, Black Betty & The Moon, Mary Ann and I Believe Jesus Brought Us Together.

This album is released on the 6th September, but you can stream the album on NME.Com.