Friday, May 06, 2005

The Hold Steady...

I posted about the tremendously fine The Hold Steady a few weeks back concentrating on their last release Almost Killed Me. But now they've released the new album Separation Sunday and despite the strenuous debate it's stirred up I think it rocks. May be as Top 5 of 2005. This album is definitely a bit different than Almost Killed Me in that the instrumentation is more varied. This time out there's piano, light keyboard and even some horns. But don't think for a second that they're not rocking it hard. The basic sound is still down and dirty bar room rock. Lead singer/shouter/mumbler Craig Finn is still crafting tense tails of Carver-esque desperation and excess.

Detractors of The Hold Steady say that the band plays a fairly typical brand of rock that's not much different from what 1,000 bands are doing all over America. The only thing that sets them apart is Finn's unique voice and lyrics. It's an arguement that cuts straight to the question of "do you listen to music for the melody, the beat, the hook or the lyrics"? In other words if you take away Finn do you have just a typical band? It's an odd arguement since it's the whole package that makes the piece as far as I'm concerned. I mean, keep Finn's lyrics but use a different voice and it wouldn't work. Match Finn's voice and stories with a quartet of stringed instruments and it wouldn't work. Finn belongs at the front of this pretty noise, they need him and he needs them. And by the way I really like the additional instrumentation.

2 songs from Separation Sunday:

Your Little Hood rat Friend. This available on their website.

Banging Camp

You need to buy this record. You really do.


Blogger elisabeth said...

this band is GREAT- i was wondering, is it just me or do they sound like social distortion 2k5?

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome, awesome band. Not only do you need to buy the albums, but you have to see them live. Amazing. Truely amazing. Rock on!

9:01 PM  

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