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The Hold Steady - Thrashing Thru The Passion (Album Review)

Monday, 19 August 2019 Written by Huw Baines

Photo: Adam Parshall

A lot has happened since the Hold Steady last blew into town with a new record tucked under their arms. Frontman Craig Finn has launched a successful solo career—releasing the excellent ‘I Need A New War’ earlier this year—while the band has recalibrated their creative and live habits to better suit their reality as rock veterans.

With pianist Franz Nicolay back in the fold for the first time since 2008’s ‘Stay Positive’, of late they have convened at their leisure for weekend-long live engagements, slinging singles into the world with something approaching regularity. Away from the grind of day-to-day band life and interminable bus rides, they have found their sense of fun again on ‘Thrashing Thru The Passion’.

Several of those recent singles make the cut here, including the standout closer Confusion in the Marketplace, but it’s the cohesion and strength of raucous new numbers like the openers Denver Haircut and Epaulets that sets this record apart from 2014’s tetchy ‘Teeth Dreams’.

Throughout Finn gets his teeth into more capers and wild rides with sketchy dudes, while guitarists Tad Kubler and Steve Selvidge have a blast playing off Nicolay and a nimble, almost ever-present brass section.

The best Hold Steady songs have always felt like unifying events—no judgements, just a good time to be had while remembering some bad times. And, while Finn hasn’t lost any of his melancholy, here he complements his deathly serious, emotionally complex solo work with an amped up look at the same tough times. “The law of averages says something’s got to give,” he sings on Blackout Sam, a rolling barroom lament.

Loose, louche and as wryly observant as ever, on ‘Thrashing Thru The Passion’ the Hold Steady have hit on a creative groove that’s working wonders for them. Finn is on sparkling form, and at each turn his bandmates have righteous answers to the questions he poses.

The Hold Steady Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu August 22 2019 - CHICAGO Illinois - Thalia Hall (USA)
Sat August 24 2019 - CHICAGO Illinois - Thalia Hall (USA)
Thu September 05 2019 - NASHVILLE Tennessee - Basement East (USA)
Fri September 06 2019 - NASHVILLE Tennessee - Basement East (USA)
Sat September 07 2019 - NASHVILLE Tennessee - Basement East (USA)
Thu September 12 2019 - CAMBRIDGE Mass. - Sinclair Music Hall (USA)
Fri September 13 2019 - CAMBRIDGE Mass. - Sinclair Music Hall (USA)
Sat September 14 2019 - CAMBRIDGE Mass.- Sinclair Music Hall (USA)
Sun September 15 2019 - CAMBRIDGE Mass. - Sinclair Music Hall (USA)
Wed December 04 2019 - BROOKLYN New York - Brooklyn Bowl (USA)
Thu December 05 2019 - BROOKLYN New York - Brooklyn Bowl (USA)
Fri December 06 2019 - BROOKLYN New York - Brooklyn Bowl (USA)
Sat December 07 2019 - BROOKLYN New York - Brooklyn Bowl (USA)

Click here to compare & buy The Hold Steady Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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