You’re safe with The Hold Steady: press play on any of the six-piece’s now seven albums, and it’ll be a assembly of characters’ tales told via tracks which on first hearing sound jolly enough, but thanks to both the lyrics and frontman Craig Finn’s burr, are awash with more than a tinge of melancholy. Half of ‘Thrashing Thru The Passion’ has already been released, so it’s only half the record that’ll be new to any fans - and seven albums in, The Hold Steady are very much a band for their existing fans. There’s not anything here, whether the bar-room blues of ‘Blackout Sam’ or the jazz hands-aloft ’T-Shirt Tux’ that’s likely to win outsiders over.
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