Brian Fallon, better known for his work fronting The Gaslight Anthem, came out with his debut solo album Painkillers in 2016. That first release was very much Americana and set him off with hints of great potential in his solo endeavours. Now a couple years later, Fallon is gearing up to release his sophomore record Sleepwalkers, a much more diverse release than his previous. Whether it’s in the more danceable songs or some of the more sombre sections, his very familiar story writing is still as present as ever but there’s less of a consistent theme but rather a mixed bag of rhythms and sounds.
The opening track ‘If Your Prayers Don’t Get To Heaven’ is a soulful toe-tapper that starts off the record by showing off Fallon’s more upbeat, less serious tendencies. This evolves further in the following single ‘Forget Me Not’, another bouncy tune inspiring a bop along. Where Painkillers felt mostly nostalgic, this time around a positive outlook peers through several different tracks as the listening journey progresses.
Of course, his familiar croons don’t ever fall short, such as the way he leads in with “She hates how much it rains, but it’s raining all the time,” in the beatiful ‘Her Majesty’s Service’. That sense of hopeless romanticism we’re so accustomed to in Fallon’s songwriting is very prominent in this acoustic guitar-driven track that pulls at your heartstrings. There’s also plenty more where that came from in the likes of ‘Proof of Life’ and title track ‘Sleepwalkers’.
There’s definitely a glimpse into the various different sides of the singer/songwriter here. Even so, there are also aspects that feel connected to his previous band efforts, and that familiarity is certainly one that can be quite comforting. For the most part, ist twists and turns make for an enjoyable experience but despite only being 12-tracks long, certain parts of it can feel a little winding.