Alt Corner #10: Molly and the Zombies

It seems to me that the lack of alternative music covered on this site is depressingly thin. Having grown up in a rock-loving community, where small alternative bands have thrived for years, this depresses me. And so, Alt. Corner is born. Every week I’ll be recommending an alternative rock band for you to listen to, ranging from colossuses of the underground scene to unsigned groups who are destined for something bigger. This week, I’ll be looking at…


Molly and the Zombies

The first Alt. Corner of 2014 came as a stroke of luck to me, since over the past week I haven’t been able to find a band that I’ve genuinely wanted to write about. But, true to form, my own personal hero Brian Fallon (The Gaslight Anthem, The Horrible Crowes) has come through for me! Only a few days ago two new tracks were uploaded from his up-and-coming side-project Molly and the Zombies. Little else is known about them, but these two tracks can give us a fair idea of the direction that they’ll be taking when the eventual release finally hits us.

Back are the focused and personal lyrics that Fallon has become known for, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that the two offerings – ‘Sketchy’ and ‘Red Lights’ – were taken from The Gaslight Anthem’s first offering ‘Sink or Swim’, and fans of ‘Teenage Rebellion’ from the band’s latest album ‘Handwritten’ will be especially pleased. There’s definitely an acoustic focus, with very little else coming in to play, and that’s what makes it so accessible. It’s old-school. It’s one man and his guitar, and all the bullshit falls by the wayside. The lyrics and the melody take precedence over all, with the bells and whistles playing second-fiddle. Of course this isn’t the final product, and it’s impossible to say how the final versions of the songs will turn out, but from what can be said of the two tracks on offer it’s likely that the finished article won’t be too different. Whereas Fallon’s other side-project, The Horrible Crowes, used production effects to give the album its decidedly darker tone, Molly and the Zombies almost seems to emulate a live performance, and as a result both songs feel more intimate and more personal, as if being performed just for you.

‘Sketchy’ is a slow ballad-esque track carried by Fallon’s strong, strained, unaltered vocal performance, channelling the raw emotion of a man singing about a personal experience, while the more interesting ‘Red Lights’, by contrast, is more reminiscent of The Gaslight Anthem in its folksy, chugging page and upbeat demeanour. The chorus is catchy as hell, too, and you’ll be listening for the lyrics so that you can sing along once you’ve heard it once or twice. The soft ‘ooh’s in the background, like a gentle breeze tickling your neck, add an air of tranquillity to the song.

This isn’t your typical Alt. Corner issue. Where I’d usually use this feature to plug a band who I truly believe in, who maybe aren’t doing as well as they should be, this week’s issue is more of an exposé – and a speculative one at that. But my first impression of Molly and the Zombies is, unsurprisingly, an encouraging one. Brian Fallon’s new side-project is a showcase on the strengths of minimalism, and proves that the measure of a musician’s talent is his writing and his passion, and not how high you are on the iTunes chart this week. The Gaslight Anthem fan within me is wary of Molly and the Zombies, since a side-project can sometimes spell the end (or at least the decline) of a band. But I’m hoping that this will be his ‘just-for-fun’ project, which it most certainly is, and here’s hoping that this won’t be Fallon’s City and Colour. He’s just too talented to focus on one thing.

Listen to: ‘Sketchy’, ‘Red Lights’.


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