The Horrible Crowes – Elsie Review (w/ Bonus Track DL)

6 09 2011


1) Last Rites
2) Sugar
3) Behold The Hurricane
4) I Witnessed a Crime
5) Go Tell Everybody
6) Cherry Blossoms
7) Ladykiller
8 ) Crush
9) Mary Ann
10) Black Betty and the Moon
11) Blood Loss
12) I Believe Jesus Brought Us Together
13) Joey (Bonus Track)(Concrete Blonde Cover) DL Link:

Link to purchase: iTunes
Link to purchase: Physical Copy

Photo Courtesy of Danny Clinch

The Horrible Crowes is a band formed by Brian Fallon, the lead singer of The Gaslight Anthem, and his guitar tech Ian Perkins. This is a side project to keep Fallon occupied in the meantime before the fourth Gaslight record slated for release next year.

Fallon’s quest to the darker side of soul must have stirred up some old demons because Elsie is a haunting masterpiece. Admittedly I am a huge fan of all Fallon’s work so this review will be a little biased. While it’s easy to draw some similarities between this album and a Gaslight record, the new moniker gives Fallon the ability to experiment a little bit with some different sounds.

Last Rites opens the album like the soundtrack to a funeral and is followed beautifully by Sugar, a somber tale of lost love. The first two tracks really set the tone for the rest of the record as it becomes apparent that the lyrics are a bit more personal than Fallon’s previous work.

In a recent Alternative Press interview regarding Elsie Brian said of the songwriting “it’s like every breakup you’ve ever had, where you lose your mind. I wrote about a time in my life that I went through when I was younger. I really needed to get this out—and it was such a weird time, I couldn’t write about it through punk rock. I just couldn’t do it; it was too weird. When I was about 18 or 19, I literally went insane. I was an insane person. I just lost touch with reality. That stuff has always been kicking around in the back of my brain. I just called it up. I sat down at the table and had coffee with that guy, and I haven’t done that in 10 years. And we wrote a record.

The tempo of the album picks up on the third track and single Behold The Hurricane (the chilling video for which is featured above).  While lyrics like “I walk around these empty rooms. We once moved like the morning. Silhouettes they haunt this house like a memory haunts me now as if it were a dream.” are tough to swallow, there is a sense of hope in the music. I Witnessed A Crime is certainly a departure from anything Gaslights ever done, supported by a slide guitar and an organ this song has a uniquely entertaining sound to it.

The darker side of soul is in full effect on songs like Go Tell Everybody and Mary Ann. The chorus of the later plays like a gospel “Mary Ann, you don’t have to worry like themMary Ann, Jesus gonna be here soonPut your tiny hands inside my hand andOne more time for me, Mary Ann

Perhaps the most gut-wrenching part of the album comes on the song Cherry Blossoms when Fallon’s whisper turns to a heartfelt cry “See all I can do is think about you, And miss all your kisses like the spring, But if I had a sign, That one, day you’d be mine again, oh no, If I could hold you right then, As the chill in this season sputtered and spit and died with…” His delivery is so sincere that you can hear the anguish in his voice.

LadyKiller is a song that will sort of put you in a melodic trance. It starts out with some laughter and voices that create the atmosphere of a conversation being had at a social gathering. Fallon’s lyrical ability really shines on Black Betty & The Moon. With lines like “And I’ve been dreaming of poisonings from the venom of my enemies. Clever as the viper, dear, but gentle as a stampede of stones.” his metaphors create such vivid imagery.

While each song on the album is unique in its own right, the record is really meant to be played as a cohesive collection of music one song flowing into the next. This album is cold and dark and accompanies the onset of the Fall quite well. As Brian said “These songs are very dark; they’re like hymns for lonely people, it’s really a trip through a breakdown and that dissent into madness and hopefully redemption.” After listening to Elsie this statement certainly holds true.

Rating: 5/5

Here’s a download link to the bonus track Joey:




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: