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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Review: Hold Steady rock out on 'Heaven Is Whenever'

Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

The Hold Steady's new CD, "Heaven is Whenever," is earning critics' approval.

Vagrant Records

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The Hold Steady are like the coolest counselors at summer camp: They know how to have too much fun, but they also dispense mature advice about growing up.

Plus, they rock.

The Brooklyn quartet's 2010 U.S. tour includes dates in a tavern, three clubs, four theaters and tomorrow night, in the Pipeline Cafe, but these guys makes music fit for an arena, and that's again the case on their fifth album, "Heaven Is Whenever." The raised hand on the cover might be uplifted by faith or by an anthemic concert encore.

These songs should sound swell live. Chords are powered by guitars that chug and roar, and layered backing vocals provide sweetener. The tunes capture a narrow world view focused on partying, rock 'n' roll and mating dances. The scene is best captured in a song beautifully titled "Rock Problems." Elsewhere, frontman Craig Finn doubles as a therapist. "I know what you're going through," he sings. "You won't get every girl."

There's less Springsteen-like material than on past albums, although the break on "Soft In The Center" heads straight for "Jungleland." And for those who might otherwise miss the echoes of 1970s pop, there are lyrical references to Cheap Trick, Meat Loaf and Utopia. There's even a cowbell.

CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: "Hurricane J" vividly describes a 22-year-old force of nature. "You're a beautiful girl," Finn sings, "and a pretty good waitress."


The Hold Steady

9 p.m. Saturday, May 8


$25, 18 and older