Style: Rock with plenty of power chords; compare to The Replacements and Thin Lizzy
Top tracks: "Barely Breathing," "The Sweet Part of the City," "Our Whole Lives"
"Heaven is whenever/ We get together and listen to records," sings Craig Finn on the fifth Hold Steady album. It's a nice thought on an album that celebrates hope in hard times, but a bit limp coming from the man who authored the fiery, gospel-drenched resurrection rock of, say, Separation Sunday. But cut Finn some slack: His own band is undergoing hard times of their own. After the departure of keys player Franz Nicolay, Finn and the gang make some thrilling transitions into country- and jazz-inflected territory, along with some cookie-cutter anthems that sound a little tired here.1
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