Craig Finn “I Need A New War”
Craig Finn is obviously a music legend where his work with The Hold Steady represents one of the finest collection of releases in modern US Alternative rock. He is also now slowly building up an impressive set of solo releases with “I Need A New War” being the latest.
Given his status and unique vocals, this release will inevitably draw comparisons to the day job. There remain some similarities, first song “Blankets” could be them at their most laid back and relaxed. Whilst the story telling approach of the lyrics on “Magic Marker” and “Holyoke” are familiar, even though the musical backdrop is somewhat different. There’s also the ongoing presence of Bruce Springsteen on the easy going style adopted on “A Bathtub In The Kitchen” and “Carmen Isn’t Coming”.
But, even more than on previous solo releases, this is a further step away from the Hold Steady’s sound. There’s an almost swing like feel on the smooth sounding “Indications” and “Her With The Blues”. Whilst “Hope For Something” seems to blend a laid back soul approach with a little bit of funky beats. It may be different, but the important thing is that it works and brings a different edge to his sound and appeal.
Those hoping for a version of a new Hold Steady album maybe disappointed. But given they are a band willing to test boundaries, their fans should welcome this shift in style. It also offers up a chance for more people to benefit from Craig’s undoubted talent. Indeed, fans of Elvis Costello at his most soulful will surely love this. After a night of partying with The Hold Steady this is perhaps the post show whisky and wind down album.