Opulence with chanting: The Hold Steady have released their eighth, sly album.
At some point they saw the concert film “The Last Waltz” and passed away with longing. At home in the classic rock sanctuary, the sound model, which has been practiced since 2003, was finally blessed with a music club star in Minneapolis. Today the eighth album by the Brooklyn band The Hold Steady is on the counter with “Open Door Policy”.
In terms of overcoming strategies, the sextet is now at the height of their creative output, and nobody in the genre should surpass them at the moment when it comes to clever song-building. Ober-Steady Craig Finn, an ex-financial juggler and mission-conscious Catholic born in 1971, received singing lessons earlier – but this did not leave any significant damage. Furthermore, the vocal predator cultivates a smeared speech performance.
With a lot of oomph
The Hold Steady: Open Door Policy. Positive Jams – Thirty Tigers/ Membran.
Hornists Stuart Bogie and Jordan McLean as well as New York singers Annie Nero and Cassandra Jenkins were taken to the Rhinebeck Clubhouse Recording Studio. A good choice. Together with keyboardist Franz Nicolay, the blower and accompanying vocals form a dynamic constant that pushes the emotion-driven rock cart with force. It’s only logical that a Soundwall expert like Josh Kaufman moves the controls and gives the production the right oomph.
The very first number “The Feelers” is a blueprint for the entire company. After a minute and a half, the song has already taken part in three breaks in order to push itself off into elegiac nirvana. While the band toil self-sacrificing in the halls of the rock trade, Craig Finn tells his story of empty existence full of peace of mind. Despite all the sonic opulence – and this must be emphasized – the album is clearly marked by the textual presentation. Finn, who is trained in the rap milieu, has not been called “a hell of a lyricist” without meaning.
Anyone who has the ten poetry blocks of the collected songs in front of them may frown in awe. – Does all of this have to be accommodated and voiced? These stories of private, provincial life? In any case, not a long way from “So much power and grace” to “I no longer see the romance in these ghosts” – as it is called in the cheerful, exuberant “Unpleasant Breakfast”.
While “Spices” is the dark, monotonous wave reminiscence and thus an exception on the record, the immediately following “Lanyards” and “Family Farm” flood the terrain with rhythmic finesse, the big rock ‘n’ roll crockery. Here – as with the final “Hanover Camera” – a closeness to old master Springsteen can hardly be denied. Thankfully, his second best record, “The Wild, the Innocent & the E-Street Shuffle” from 1973, comes back to your ears, that deeply tender, fairy-tale early phase. Finn’s allusion to “4th of July” is carefully considered, his résumé is woven through with melancholy: “I saw a few stars but I never made it into a movie / still trying to make moves but I’m back in Independence, Missouri.”
The Hold Steady – six guys who walk beyond glamor and self-optimization – are shrewd, but not cunning. Unfortunately also suitable for stadium rock monsters. In “Me & Magdalena” with its big band gesture, however, there is an indestructibility hidden called Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes. Tired warriors, unsuccessful, noble role models. After all: the last waltz has not yet been danced.