“21 Days” ‘til I don’t miss you sure takes on a new meaning these days, doesn’t it? That said, Brian Fallon waiting until almost the perfect time until we were all nostalgic for exes we didn’t know we needed or wanted seems like the thing to do with his latest album. “Set me on fire and I did a lot of burning” from “I Don’t Mind (If I’m With You)” seems like a perfect sentiment for solitary penance as this album cascades from one song to another.
That penance seems to lie at the heart of Local Honey, the latest offering from Brian Fallon who is best known from his time leading the Gaslight Anthem. Truth be told, these songs don’t bear that much difference from the band’s offerings versus what Fallon could conjure on his own. This is an album that tries hard to shake the ghost of being pegged as the heir to the Springsteen throne while doing every inch of cementing its place in that particular legacy.
The album survives on its fits and swells between delivery of tragic lines that hit a little close to home about lives once lived and loves long lost. “Lonely for You Only” is a prime example of this. That said “Horses” sees Fallon stretching his wings a bit by allowing some new sonic tools into the mix despite acoustic guitar still serving as the driving instrument in this arrangement. Some interesting electronic percussive elements carry the song to an almost Death Cab for Cutie style denouement. It’s certainly not something one would expect from “the Boss”.
The track “Vincent” feels a bit like the gateway to this album’s desperate underpinnings. It might not deliver on the more memorable strokes of other songs but it feels like a track that shifts the mood from that of simply listening to it to soaking it in and absorbing all of those feelings you may, yourself, have allowed to lie dormant for months, if not years.
But the overall feeling of Local Honey is that of a secret kept between lovers. And it’s that magic, that spell, that Fallon hopes to capture his audience with but it leaves the questions lingering, who is he in all of this? An unrequited lover? A troubadour feeding us our lines? More than anything else, though, Local Honey is a guide to feelings in the here and now.
Fallon made a point of making his subject material on this album a matter of the present moreso than his previous projects. On previous efforts he might have made us swoon with tales pointed towards our own inner angst whereas this feels much more like a missive aimed at how the eternal frontman feels about the subjects he has so often graced. The idle refrain to “21 Days” almost says as much with its soul searing refrain that will leave you humming it to yourself over and over again.
“When it’s over we do the leaving/we do the crying/we do the healing…” may as well be the way we measure this album against its contents. The thing about this album is that it will undoubtedly rip the bandages off of your freshest wounds and make you look at them anew. By the end of it you’ll be wondering if the short span of three weeks will be enough to let you move on, off the hook and into some new horizon. But Fallon makes you feel, here, like it will always be there, no matter what, no matter how much time passes. In that way, his latest effort ends up feeling somewhat timeless.
If you aren’t already longing for someone now, sitting in some quarantine far apart from that person, this album is only going to accentuate that. And I wish I could judge it beyond that rubric but it’s so hard, nigh impossible, considering current affairs. The wind-swept loneliness and slow rolling dusk that Fallon’s music conjures is only enhanced by the current circumstances. If any album could prove to be the soundtrack to our angst-ridden times in this lockdown it might sound a lot like Local Honey.
Local Honey is available now via