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Monday, December 24, 2007

THE HOLD STEADY
Boys and Girls in America
(Vagrant)

How is possible to listen to the Hold Steady and not think of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band? Even though the Hold Steady is signed to Vagrant, a noted Emo label, the raucous bar-rock that the Hold Steady delivers is nothing less than unabashed 70s rock! Especially with the sound of the rock piano (shares of Roy Bittan) and the occasional accordian (not an Emo instrument!).
Like Springsteen, singer-songwriter Craig Finn writes vivid character studies except that Finn’s focus is firmly on kids who seem to have nothing else to do but drink, party, do drugs and get laid. And intriguingly, Finn peppers his song with odd religious references.
“Lost in fog and love and faithless fear/I've had kisses that make Judas seem sincere” from “Citrus” ostensibly about alcohol and “then last night she said words alone never could save us/and then last night she cried when she told us about Jesus” from “First Night” make the point.
With three albums in as many years under their collective belts, the guys in the Hold Steady certainly have a handle on their music and their audience. Should not be long before Craig Finn and the Hold Steady become rock stars like Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. If there’s any justice left in this cold world, that is. A

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