The Horrible Crowes
On this side project, Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon trades his main band's Springsteenian punk for pianos and ballad choruses - moving up the East Coast corridor not far from Billy Joel country. Fallon drops his trademark cheap-scotch growl to a whisper, singing about loneliness ("Cherry Blossoms") and missed opportunities ("Blood Loss"). The songs are more subdued, but he doesn't skimp on conviction, often playing the patron saint of hard-luck cases (including his own). And while this is sometimes just a softfocus version of Gaslight's bruised romanticism, his weathered tenderness makes it stick. "Did you say you were afraid of dying?/I ain't lived a single day without you," he sings on "I Believe Jesus Brought Us Together." Call it corny - in his broken timbre, it's sad-sack gospel.