Ever since I went to see Brian Fallon at the Concorde 2 in Brighton back in 2016, I become a fan of his solo work and with that, his album that year Painkillers was one of my favorites of that year, so when I heard he was releasing a new album, I knew I had to check it out, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Going for a more straight-up rock sound on this album, than the clean acoustics like in Painkillers really is a step up, and with more of the same gritty vocals from Brian that he is known for, Sleepwalkers is everything you want from Brian Fallon and more.
We start with “If Your Prayers Don’t Get To Heaven“, a nice blues rock track, which is about wanting to leave someone but deciding to stick around because you love them. The open line puts this across with the lines, “I’m packing up, I’ve gotta move, I’ma blow a fifty-foot hole through the dark clouds in our room, I’m making a change I’m gon’ starting today“, and sets up the subject very nicely.
The guitar melody going throughout the song is amazing, and I like he goes a bit grippy with the guitar tone like he did on Painkillers, and with Brian’s voice which is so unique in the way he sings, it adds weight to the song.
With “Forget Me Not“, he goes all out rock with more emotion to it, with the song being about losing someone and being hard to let go. This is beautiful and put across well in the chorus that I can’t get enough of, with him describing the cool stuff he did with his lost loved one.
“Would you put your black dress on and visit my bones? And bring my football top and a scarf for the cold“, breaks your heart and a person who has suffered loss would relate to this song.
There’s something a bit different with “Come Wander With Me“, with the nice reverb guitar which mixes it up a little, but works great with Brian’s voice again. We get a song about growing up and living your dream. There is a nice call back to The Clash with the lyrics, “I pretended that my daddy was a bank robber“, which is a line from a famous Clash song “Bankrobber” which heavy inspired Brian.
The best part of the song is the chorus with the really catchy line, “Oh but you, you always said, you’re just too good a ship to wreck“, really put across this lesson that always lives your dream and you need someone to believe in you.
We slow it down with “Etta James” which is about finding your true love and thinking you would never find it. With a nice picky melody and great dynamic range, and with Brian’s vocal from soft to loud, it really comes across as a song you would sing to the love of your life.
I really like the line “Twenty long years away from your heart, Til finally, finally, my love is in my arms, My love is in my arms“, in the chorus, which is so beautiful to think about and listen too.
One of my favorite song of the album is “Her Majesty’s Service“, which has more of a Painkillers vibe to it, with its great nice chord progression. Without the band and just an acoustic, this would sound amazing live.
This is song about life and growing old and you really feel that in the chorus – it goes straight to the point with the line “And I would crawl across the glass, to bow at your feet in the service of the queen” really reflecting on the idea of getting old and being happy with life.
We get a more acoustic driven song with “Proof Of Life“, which has a really nice lead line, with Brian softening his voice to build emotion. This song is about the famous line from the Beatles, “All you need is love“, and being happy. With the acoustic taking centre stage, this message is put across nicely.
I like the line at the end of the chorus where he says, “As long as you know how I loved you, That would be the proof of life when I am gone“, that always put a smile on my face.
On “Little Nightmares“, we go back to straight-up rock, with a garage rock feel to it, as the tone of guitars really push this through. I think “And little nightmares, keep telling me you’ll go, Keep telling me you’ll go” is the most catchy chorus line in the whole album. It gets stuck in my head and with everything around it, this really is a great track.
With the album’s title track “Sleepwalkers“, Brian goes full-on blues with a nice touching song about losing someone you love and looking back at good times. The upbeat tone really does have a happy ending feel, that you would typically get at the end credits of a romantic film.
We get a similar tone with “My Name Is The Night” and “Neptune”, with one being about meeting someone you really want to call you back, and the other one about not fitting in. Both have similar guitar tones and the way Brian sings these songs really makes them just a bit different to enjoy.
The album ends with two slowed down farewell tracks – “Watson” looks again at the loss of someone, which is the whole theme of this album. With a nice reference to Dr. Watson from Sherlock Holmes, the outro of this song is worth checking it out.
The beautiful acoustic song “See You On The Other Side” is just great ballad, talking about loving someone so much, and with Valentine’s Day coming up, of the time of me writing this, this song would be a perfect song to play to someone you love, and is such a great way to end this album.
This album has solidified for me, even more why I become a huge fan of Brian Fallon’s songwriting after Painkiller. With touching lyrics, great guitar playing and Brian’s singing, holding it all together, I think this is by far my favorite album so far this year and worth checking out. Purchase Brian Fallon’s Sleepwalkers on iTunes here, and stream it below.
Words by Stuart Irvine