The Hold Steady

Boys and Girls in America (Vagrant Records)

The Hold Steady
Throughout three albums, the Hold Steady, a powerful bar band built without irony but with purpose, has celebrated subjects sacred to American youth -- chemicals, their pushers, and their users -- to a party soundtrack. These are empathetic portraits of such hard-time characters as kids making out in emergency rooms and a damaged hoodrat named Holly. Boys and Girls in America softens frontman Craig Finn's focus and ups the production, casting very specific dramas in more general parameters and putting his voice inside the band. Sometimes connections get lost, but Finn's power to philosophize -- "I see Jesus in the clumsiness of young and awkward lovers" -- harnesses new power. This isn't the best Hold Steady album, but it's one of the best rock albums this year.
Scroll to read more Music News articles
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.