CD review: The Horrible Crowes’ ‘Elsie’

Annie Zaleski

The Details

The Horrible Crowes
three and a half stars

On the surface, The Horrible Crowes might seem like a departure for Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon. Elsie, the debut from his new side project, is far more subdued and moody than the raucous Springsteen-punk of his main band. The album incorporates references to Tom Waits (the snaky percussion, voodoo organ and whispery vocals of “I Witnessed a Crime”), Nick Cave (the pounding-heartbeat rhythm and sustained keyboards driving “I Believe Jesus Brought Us Together”), Low (the lovely slo-core heartbreak of “Cherry Blossoms”) and Afghan Whigs (the tortured junkyard soul of “Mary Ann”). But Fallon’s undeniable vocal resemblance to Springsteen ensures that several songs—“Behold the Hurricane” and “Crush,” especially—hew close to the Boss’ darker solo work. This certainly isn’t a bad thing; the personal reflection and biting self-analysis on Elsie is often harrowing, but it leads to rich emotional depth that resonates long after the music ends. Ideal for post-midnight soul-searching.


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