The Hold Steady “Thrashing Thru The Passion”
Fans of The Hold Steady have had to be patient waiting for a new album. Sure, there’s been some solo albums from Craig Finn to give them a little fix, but even that doesn’t equal new songs from his ‘day job’ band. The band have released new material over the last few years, and this album features 5 songs that have previously released online only. But they are now accompanied by another 5 to make a full album release.
Straight from opening number, “Denver Haircut”, you sense this is going to be a big album. You get that immediate comforting feel of familiarity the moment you hear Craig’s unmistakable vocals. It’s clear from that opening song and tracks like “Epaulets” and “Entitlement Crew” that the band have hit this new release with a renewed sense of passion and enthusiasm.
The opening shout out vibe of “You Did Good Kid” has us transported back to the days when we first heard the rallying call of those anthemic songs on ‘Boys & Girls in America’. This album, with tracks like “Star 18” and “Confusion in The Market Place”, sees them delivering some of their most rocking songs for some time. Somewhat ironically, “T-Shirt Tux” has a bit of a Gaslight Anthem feel and is possibly their most ‘commercial’ sounding song for some time.
You can’t really have a Hold Steady review without some references to The Boss. Therefore, the blast of horns on “Traditional Village” and then keys on “Blackout Sam” have a feel of Mr Springsteen at his exuberant best. The story telling style of The Hold Steady has always fuelled the comparisons and it’s again apparent here on all these songs.
The issue with being a legendary band is that some people will always hark back to earlier releases. A bit like The Replacements or Wilco, there will always be a hardcore of fans who will feel that nothing compares to the band’s earlier releases. That’s a real pity and in fact they end up just depriving themselves of hearing some great music. The Hold Steady’s entire catalogue is worthy of your attention and this is another fine addition to their catalogue. Indeed, this release is probably their most vibrant for some time. It’s a timely reminder why the band are held in such high regard and have influenced so many others over the years.