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The Hold Steady - The Apotheosis of American Angst

The Hold Steady deepen their literary stance on rock & roll.

By Alexis Renaudat | Video of the Day | August 27, 2019
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Following a 5-year hiatus, the iconic Brooklyn rockers are back, true to themselves yet again: Thrashing Thru The Passion is pure-bred Hold Steady! Craig Finn’s one liners are as sharp and witty as always, describing the dark side of the rock & roll scene, the opioid epidemic, and America – through flawed characters that could easily fit in a JD Salinger novel. The 48-year old rocker seems determined to report on that reality in all its grimy, sordid splendor, much in the same way as “dirty realism” authors Richard Ford or Raymond Carver, whose works mainly focus on truer-than-life anti-heroes – drug addicts, prostitutes and the unemployed from all walks of life. At times, Finn is sardonic, such as on Star 18: “I got caught in a mosh / With this dude who said he used to play with Peter Tosh / But he never brought it up again once I said, man, I don't believe you “ – or straight up bleak, when he describes a high school dropout’s slow spiral into addiction, ending in death and the ensuing funeral on Blackout Sam. As support to this lyrical prowess, Thrashing Thru The Passion’s music is straightforward rock & roll; even if you choose to ignore the themes developed throughout the album, The Hold Steady deliver some hefty riffs, boosted by a horn section and some occasional keys. It’s a solid performance, with a standout literary bent. © Alexis Renaudat/Qobuz

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