Returning from a two-year hiatus with a new line-up, The Hold Steady don’t mess around as they jump straight into their new album, Teeth Dreams with a crisp, kick-starting drum introduction that leads perfectly into the commanding vocals and lyrics that the band are primarily known for.
The album’s first track, “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You” sets the tone of the album with vocalist, Craig Finn, laying down an intense story of living in a desolated town that is full of fun memories but at the same time brings you down.
Taking obvious inspiration from Bruce Springsteen, Finn’s stories speak about the American dream as something that is only as dead as you want it to be, if you have the will to survive and get out alive.
Musically, the album displays the obvious talents of the band members as musicians in their own rights through the multi-layered guitar melodies and the employment of different drum patterns for each song, however, at times it feels as though the mixing of the album accentuates these just a little bit too much. This is particularly noticeable in the track “Spinners” where the volume of the guitars perhaps overrides what separates this band from other rock bands; the vocals and the lyrics.
Since banding in Brooklyn in 2004, The Hold Steady have grown from underground, dive bar rockers to acclaimed musicians whilst seeing through drug addiction, divorce and the end of friendships.
Teeth Dreams is assumingly the manifestation of these years, tracking the bad that comes with the good and the good that always makes its way in the end. We come to understand this through the fast-paced tracks of the album that culminate to the slow, resonating anthem “Oaks” at the album’s end.
A great comeback album and an indication of the good things that will shine through, Teeth Dreams is an example of what makes The Hold Steady continue to stand out in our current same-same music landscape; simple storytelling.
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York.
Latest album: Teeth Dreams, released 18 February, 2014.
Sounds like: Bruce Springsteen, The Replacements, Grifters
Say what? These guys recorded a track for the TV show, Game of Thrones last year called “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”
Paws and pineapples, Cat