American singer-songwriter Brian Fallon has finally released his long awaited sophomore album, and it’s certainly an interesting release. In some ways Fallon has improved upon his debut Painkillers, and yet in other ways some of the tracks here seem like a bit of a step backwards, which is a shame considering that Fallon is one of our favourite artists.
Whereas Painkillers was a straight up country/folk album with the odd rock element present, Sleepwalkers adds a lot more into the mix. Those aforementioned styles are still very much there, however tinges of gospel, ska, reggae, and even mod music can be heard on several songs, and it may come as no surprise that it is these tracks that Fallon excels on. He is known for taking his influences on board within his music (perhaps a little too much at times), and that’s certainly clear here.
Single If Your Prayers Don’t Get To Heaven mixes ska and mod styles together with an old school R’n’B backbeat to create one of the finest songs of his career, whilst the intro to Neptune features a gospel sound, alongside a killer organ riff (to match the killer guitar riff played underneath). These are moments in which Fallon’s brilliance as a songwriter truly comes through, and it is these moments that make this album worth buying. However, there are times when his schtick becomes a bit tiresome. Lead single Forget Me Not is perfectly fine, but we can’t pretend that he hasn’t released this song hundreds of times before, and it could have been placed equally on a Gaslight Anthem album.
Fallon is very good at writing a particular type of song, and whilst we still think he’s an excellent songwriter, Sleepwalkers is still very much an album of two halves. However, we hope that the tracks we’re not so into may grow on us with future listens, and we hope that if a third release comes, Fallon will finally manage to break out of the mould that he has created for himself.