Random Records with Steve O: The Falcon - Gather Up The ChapsSteve O - April 10, 2016
If you listened to us discuss the merits of every record on our 2015 Bracket, you heard me mention how I’m not a part of that group that deems everything Jeff Rosenstock does gold. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I fit into a different group, one that seems much more Chicagoan than New York’s Rosenstock. I fall into that demographic that is obsessed with everything Brendan Kelly puts out. The Lawrence Arms were my introduction to Kelly’s gruff voice, his lyrics which masterfully mix crude humor, pop culture, and literature with a somewhat depressing glance at life, and songs that hit hard and fast. But the man keeps busy, writing music or tweeting as a nihilistic fast-food chain (or as his humorous self).
Ten years ago, the Falcon released their first record, Unicornography. And now, here we are with record number two, Gather Up The Chaps. Just a couple of listens to Gather Up The Chaps really makes you wish records like this came out more often. Hopefully it won’t be another ten years til Kelly gets the band back together for another record. This iteration of the Falcon got together to play Red Scare Industries’ 10th Anniversary show back in October 2014. And it went quite well. (I was there and I can attest that it was a great performance.) And so, that team, consisting of Kelly, his Lawrence Arms bandmate Neil Hennessey, Alkaline Trio’s Dan Andriano, and the Loved Ones’ Dave Hause, have put out 2016’s record of the year. That’s right, bracket committee; I’m calling it in April.
Gather Up The Chaps sounds exactly like you would expect given that cast. And Kelly shares the show with his all-star cast. “You Dumb Dildos” gives Andriano a chance to shine, before a chaotic ending, while “If Dave Did It,” is Hause’s take on how a Falcon song should sound; it’s got woahs and that Falcon sense of humor, (listen close to hear Kelly sarcastically remark “did he say hipster ass?”) And then there’s the typical Brendan Kelly songs. He rapidly barks out lines such as “Grapple down the scaffolding like Hasselhoff dismantling / The greasy mantle pieces and the cheesiest diseases…/ Mangling a cheeseburger while rolling in your feces / I’m a hairy, old Khaleesi, draggin’ ass, draggin’ on / Overacting after all the audience is gone,” in the rapid-fire “Hasselhoff Cheeseburger.” The opening lines of “Sergio’s Here” are classic Kelly: “I went to rehab for being too damn high / With you dumb motherfuckers in the middle of the night / And when I get back, I'm gonna find you guys / Take us to the L&L and make us drink 'til one of us dies.” Then there’s Kelly’s intellect, which shows off with lines like “The kraken strangles the girth of the whale / Blood so black as it drains in the shale / The war of colossus, leviathan pride / Something gigantic is dying tonight,” from “War of Colossus.” Kelly definitely has his own unique lyrical voice, and the lines here sure belong. Musically, it’s the catchy, gruff, pop punk, the kind you associate with the member’s other bands. There’s some slower, more reflective songs (“Dead Rose”), but most of the time the Falcon keep a faster pace. Particular highlights include the melancholic “Sailor’s Grave,” with its mid-pace, woahs, and self-deprecating chaos, “The Fighter, The Rube, The Asshole” and its sing-alongs (“Stay the fuck out of my alley,”) Hause’s “If Dave Did It,” the two-faced “You Dumb Dildos,” which is half classic Andriano, half Falcon chaos, and, well really every song. You really gotta listen to this one. Youtube stream below:
Kelly played an acoustic set at Reckless Records back in March to celebrate the release of Gather Up The Chaps. It was a great set made up of mostly Falcon songs. Watch some of them below.