The Hold Steady

Boys and Girls in America (Vagrant)

Craig Finn's ramblings about religious girls having sex with soccer players, chums passing beer bottles under bridges, and house parties long forgotten have always charmed, but that magic wears off on his latest record with the Hold Steady. While previous releases rocked like jug-bitten partygoers falling off a balcony, the music gets slower and the subject matter a bit more somber on Boys and Girls in America (the title is taken from the Jack Kerouac line, "Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together.") Instead of holding drunkards spellbound with his brutally witty lyrics and slobbery voice, Finn now drowns his tales in sticky sentiment and wallowing romanticism; Ballads such as "First Night" and "Citrus" are just plain drippy. (Another problem area: The song "Chillout Tent" features Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum and Elizabeth Elmore of the Reputation singing background vocals. However, their voices are poorly mixed into the tune and sound like they were recorded in a totally different studio in another country, making for a messy catastrophe of a song.) The Hold Steady's brainy bar rock sound has embarrassingly devolved into full-on, piano-added-for-dramatic-effect arena rock, like Springsteen and the E Street Band at its most cornball. Adam Bregman

Details

The Hold Steady perform Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. Admission is $13-16; call 885-0750 or visit www.gamh.com for more info.
Great American Music Hall

Related Stories

More About

 
My Voice Nation Help
 

Concert Calendar

  • April
  • Sun
    20
  • Mon
    21
  • Tue
    22
  • Wed
    23
  • Thu
    24
  • Fri
    25
  • Sat
    26
San Francisco Event Tickets
©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.
Loading...