Feature

The Hold Steady: Heaven Is Whenever

“Nearly majestic at points,” this is the Hold Steady’s “most polished record yet," said Jon Dolan in Rolling Stone.

(Vagrant)

***

At its best, the Hold Steady has always been a “romanticized version of a great bar band,” said Greg Kot in the Chicago Tribune. Though the Brooklyn band has ambition and a sincere appreciation of rock history, it isn’t the type to make major statements, and the Hold Steady’s fourth album turns out to be “another awkward marriage of rock-’n’-roll celebration and studied songcraft.” But the members of the Hold Steady don’t just love classic rock songs—they make some of their own, said Jon Dolan in Rolling Stone. Heaven Is Whenever marks the first album since keyboardist Franz Nicolay’s departure, and the band fully compensates for the loss. On “The Weekenders” and “Soft in the Center,” the drunken poetry of “schlubby genius” Craig Finn seems to have gained “nuance and empathy.” Guitarist Tad Kubler lays down hot, arena-size riffs on “Rock Problems.” “Nearly majestic at points,” this is the Hold Steady’s “most polished record yet.”

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