The side project can be a wonderful thing. They’re often a chance for an artist to diversify and, when they’re done right, can turn out to be awesome. Back in 2004, Brendan Kelly formed The Falcon – a punk ‘supergroup’ containing members of Alkaline Trio, Rise Against and, Kelly’s own, Lawrence Arms – and whilst The Falcon’s sound was dissimilar to any of the aforementioned bands, the apple hadn’t fallen too far from the tree. With this latest project, the raspy-voiced Chicagoan, has endeavored to do something completely different. Not only has he succeeded in doing so, but he’s created something that’ll surprise many a listener.
A Man With The Passion Of Tennessee Williams is a perfect three-track tease of what’s to come from Kelly and his Wandering Birds. Though the lyrical content remains relatively similar to his previous work, it appears we’ll be getting something completely different from a musical standpoint. The opening track demonstrates this perfectly; A simple drum beat permeates throughout, broken up by the effect laden sound of an electric guitar and lead vocal. The end result is a very techno/Euro-dance sounding track, with Kelly’s vocals coming across very Marilyn Manson-esque. So yeah, this isn’t The Lawrence Arms or one of those ‘one man and a guitar’ kind of deals. Surprisingly, this isn’t a bad thing and I’m excited for what’s to come when the full length is released in February.
As for the EP’s two other tracks, the first has a very Lawrence Arms sound about it. Whilst it has been infused with a little of the techno style heard on the previous track, it’s a ‘safer’ song than what came before. Given how different the previous track was, it definitely didn’t strike me in the same way. Not that it wasn’t enjoyable in it’s own right. In an even safer move, the EP closes with an acoustic song. ‘Suffer The Children, Come Unto Me’ shows that Kelly’s basic songwriting process has remained very similar, and so I urge you to give this a try.
This is Brendan getting creative, and trying new things. It’s certainly not what I expected coming in, but I’m excited to see what he can do having lost the constraints of a traditional punk rock record.