Brian Fallon - Local Honey (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Brian Fallon

Local Honey (2020)


What more can we say about singer/songwriter Brian Fallon that hasn't been said already? Local Honey will certainly ramp up the shower of compliments because as expected, the Jersey boy delivers a masterclass on romantic novels. But not just romance with those of the past, present or future, but with places, with landmarks, and with life itself. Painkillers and Sleepwalkers proved he was indeed a modern Tom Petty,  a new Springsteen even, but this -- his third solo full-length -- is proof Fallon is an institution in the folk punk arena.

Firstly, if someone asks me what this album sounded like, I'd say most of the tracks have that ethereal hum of Jimmy Eat World's "Cautioners" -- which is a huge draw for me. I love Fallon's stripped down acoustics, as seen with his "Great Expectations" rendition with Chuck Ragan, but here, the keys and slow electronic bits gently littered across the eight tracks are nothing short of perfection. Songs like "Vincent" are a perfect example of this as well as the opener "When You're Ready" -- the latter being a brilliant song/video about family, kids and legacies. There's also a warm guitar solo that'll make you want more music from The Gaslight Anthem or Lucero stat. 

Here, Fallon waxes poetically: I can't tell you who to love I don't know who that might be, I hope they cheer you up like crazy. Sweep you right up off your feet, Though I don't want you to grow up. Cause I don't want you to leave. When you're ready to choose someone. Make sure they love you half as much as me is every parent's dream for their children and hearing Fallon melodically bring this to life is tear-jerking. Again, it's what he does best: hemming novels about love, which admittedly sting a bit more in these days of isolation and a lack of human contact. 

This record just feels more introspective and homespun amid the essential theme that I've found across all his music, even with G.A. That's life and love is a carnival, and we're just passers by in the bacchanalia, which tracks like the heartbreaking "21 Days" and the Americana folk/country "Lonely For You" highlight. Then there's "I Don't Mind (If I'm There With You)" which is much more acoustic and bare and feels like a response to "She Loves You", which leaves you wondering about the sisters on President Street he sang of years ago. It's a nice little nod as the musical spine sounds similar, lighting dark corners and hallways as only Fallon could.

Honestly, I do think this should have been longer. I like shorter, punchier records but Fallon's music ebbs and flows so seamlessly from one track to the other, you'd find yourself lost in cigars, whiskey and the front porch for hours. By the time "You've Stolen My Heart" wraps proceedings, you can't help but feel it's a fitting title because Fallon has done that again. Another powerful record from one of the most profound talents of this generation of us born in the '80s and '90s.