The Horrible Crowes has always been promised as something bold, something dark, and something soulful. The first single, “Behold the Hurricane” is nothing short of that.
With a simple piano melody backed with “oh oh ohs,” you’re completely roped in by the first few notes. More importantly, how can you not be? As a collaboration of The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon and guitar tech Ian Perkins, there is nothing quiet about this supposedly soulful record.
Fallon’s heart-drenched singing ability is unmatched. In a few short years, The Gaslight Anthem have gone from a New Brunswick, New Jersey punk band who writes songs about Joe Strummer to playing world festivals with Bruce Springsteen. The Gaslight Anthem always had the folk-punk sorrow aspect, but it was never the major focus; the concept of moving on in the end always was. Bootleg internet versions of Fallon acoustic on radio or on television clog our minds because there is something about him we cannot resist. So when The Horrible Crowes was in fact not only going to make a full-length, but that it would be dark songs, what else besides “greatest idea ever” came to mind?
There are already leaking problems. After all, a 90 second clip cannot hold fans over even though Fallon and Perkins must know how excited people are. Recently on Fallon’s blog, he wrote a statement to a deejay who had played a leaked song, saying, “Please do not put music on the Internet that you know you’re not supposed to…The Internet is great for some things, but it’s taking the magic out of music.” Truth, sir. We will take this snack before dinner well.
With “Behold the Hurricane” all you can think of is nostalgia, black and white photographs, and ex-lovers. That’s the point anyway. The chorus of “It’s such a shame/ I heard the wind say this morning/ Be still my heart/ I age by years at the mention of your name,” will have you singing by the end. It’s so relatable and a great timeout. The song’s simple beat and chords bring forward the soul and blues inspiration right down to the tambourine accents.
Inevitably, it does sound like The Gaslight Anthem (especially the “She Loves You” b-side from American Slang). However, the key difference is it isn’t punk. Yeah, it’s exactly as advertised. People may wonder why Gaslight didn’t just make a sad record. They shouldn’t (unless they want to) because currently that wouldn’t sound right. The quality sounds of Alex Levine, Benny Horowitz, and Alex Rosamilia are certainly missed, but they belong to Gaslight. This is The Horrible Crowes with less folk and far more soul.
Until Sept. 6, The Horrible Crowes’ full length, Elsie (released on SideOneDummy Records), is a surprise. And you know what? It will be okay that way. Nothing is worse than ruined nostalgia. Repeated over and over with sorrow, the echoing singing fades. It’s emphasizing a song that has perfectly matched lyrical content to the music: “The memory haunts me now as if it were a dream.”