The Hold Steady - Thrashing thru the Passion Album cover

The Hold Steady - Thrashing thru the Passion Album coverThe Hold Steady – Thrashing Thru’ the Passion (Frenchkiss)


Out on 16 August

There is such a natural unfettered joyfulness about the music of The Hold Steady it should be available on prescription; their latest long player Thrashing Thru the Passion is one of their best, worth the five year wait in its inception.

As the uniquely distinctive voice of Craig Finn announces the arrival of Denver Haircut and the bluesy punk rock ‘n’ roll music kicks in, I feel encapsulated once again in the world of The Hold Steady. If this is what five years without an album means, by all means take another five for the next. It is time to let the good times roll.

In reality, five of the tracks here have been available digitally prior to the release of the album, but bringing the 10 tracks together into one place and listening to the tales of the heroes and antiheroes of mid-town USA told through the inimitable delivery style and lyrical genius of Finn, is an unfettered delight. It is hard, nay impossible, not to get drawn into the stories of the “dark horse” in Denver Haircut, or elsewhere wonder what favour needed returning in The Stove & the Toaster. There is something so uplifting about Finn’s deep whole-hearted drawl, you can’t help but get lost in the lives of subjects of the songs.

And there can only be one sound to soundtrack these tales; The Hold Steady do it so well, they have honed the sound to perfection, unmistakably theirs – the bar-room jazz-tinged punk ‘n’ roll blues flourished with brass sections, honky-tonk piano, saxophone, organ. The overall mood captured is one of unshackled boundless joy, a band at their peak of their powers. It’s the sound of a band truly in their element, the vivacity of the music captures the spirit of six individuals enjoying themselves and making the complexity of what they have produced seem effortless.

You did good kids, keep thrashing thru’ the passion and Stay Positive.

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All words by Neil Hodge. More writing by Neil on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. You can also find Neil online at his blog thegingerquiff.



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