‘A self-fulfilled classic’
Zach Hughes
14:48 20th March 2020

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Since the indefinite hiatus of The Gaslight Anthem, Brian Fallon has managed to triumph over the obscurity that can often envelop artists who head down the lonely path of frontman-turned-solo-artist. The last four years have seen the release of 2016’s Painkillers and 2018’s Sleepwalkers, two successful outfits that still contained elements of Gaslight’s iconic punk-rock.

Fallon’s third solo offering is something of a different creature. Teaming up with Grammy-winning producer Peter Katis (The National, Interpol, The War on Drugs), Fallon identified that for this record, he wanted it all to be about the day-to-day machinations of his life. As a result, Local Honey is the most unique offering to come from his journey as a solo artist thus far. The record leans more towards stripped-back acoustic guitar and offers up a heart-warming and introspective listening experience. The shift in sound became quickly apparent with the release of the first single ‘You Have Stolen My Heart’ – a dreamy love song that reveals a new and entirely welcome high-reaching dimension to Fallon’s typically earthy vocals.

The follow-up single was another trove of welcome surprises. There is an element of the composition that reminds us of Fallon’s days working with guitarist Ian Perkins on The Horrible Crowes project. Whilst the first single is undeniably captivating, ’21 Days’ was the first track to get suitably under the skin and enter into the cycle of unending replays. Continuing the vulnerable undertones of the first single, the song beautifully reflects on the tormenting process of breaking an addiction and stopping cigarettes. It’s the embodiment of what has earned Brian Fallon a loyal fanbase the world-over; an ability to pass hardship through a spectrum and create a wonderfully accessible and uplifting sound in the process.

If you’ve ever been to a Brian Fallon concert, you will have no doubt noticed the readiness of his songwriting to transition into the chorus of a live audience. The third single ‘I Don’t Mind If I’m With You’ is undeniably going to be one of these tracks. The introduction is a slow-pacing acoustic guitar melody that echoes The Gaslight Anthem’s ‘She Loves You’, eventually ascending to a chorus that warmly wraps itself around you and makes you want to sing-along, as any good shanty should.

Despite it sticking to a relatively simplistic recipe of acoustic guitar and piano, the album is ultimately carried along by the irresistible charm of Fallon’s vocals. The overarching aesthetic of the record has been further enhanced by the deft production Peter Katis, who has unearthed aspects of Brian’s songwriting, which until now, seem to have been lurking just below the surface.

Fallon has been open about the struggles of coming to terms with his onward journey as a solo artist but has acknowledged that moving forward he wants the music to be an honest and open book about his life. Local Honey is a comfortable and complete record, with eight silkily interwoven tracks that have a wonderful familiarity to them – the overall result is a self-fulfilled classic that marks a new chapter for Brian Fallon.  

Local Honey is released on 27 March 2020 via Lesser Known Records / Thirty Tigers. 

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