Style: Muted, folksy rock; compare to Bruce Springsteen, Bright Eyes, The Hold Steady
Top tracks: "Western Pier," "Terrified Eyes," "Not Much Left of Us"
Craig Finn's lyrics have been so Christ-haunted for so long, it's in danger of becoming schtick. His Catholic guilt and obsession with Jesus follow the Hold Steady singer into his first solo album, though his band's celebratory fervor is abandoned in favor of muted bar-band rock—a collision of folk, Americana, and overt Springsteen-isms. The lyrics are more melancholy than ever; Finn conveys complex emotions and real fears about hospital bills, frayed relationships, even alcoholism. Jesus is evoked as a benevolent judge on "Western Pier," to sublime effect, but "New Friend Jesus" is as hokey as it sounds.1
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