REVIEW: The Hold Steady, Open Door Policy

REVIEW: The Hold Steady, Open Door Policy
The Hold Steady, Open Door Policy (Positive Jams)

It’s been a rough few years for the Hold Steady, the world’s premium meta-bar-band. Lineup changes and a vested interest in moving away from the Springsteen-inflected, hyper-wordy indie rock that made them the perennial favourites of the “dudes rock” faction of rock fans resulted in some middling albums that struggled to find a sound. With eccentric keyboardist Franz Nicolay back in the fold, the Brooklyn band deliver their best album since 2008’s Stay Positive. Frontman Craig Finn’s literary lyricsm is at its densest, the E Street Band piano hooks and chunky dual-guitar (now triple-guitar, in fact) assaults abound and yet the Hold Steady have refined their sound some, swapping in more trippy guitar parts, buttery electric piano and more jazzy arrangements without sacrificing the things that anyone who loves the Hold Steady loves about the Hold Steady. Most bands would have thrown in the towel after so many wilderness years, but Open Door Policy proves it was worth sticking to it. 9/10

“Heavy Covenant” from Open Door Policy

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