Brooklyn’s The Hold Steady have never shied away from the classic end of the rock spectrum. On their sixth album, however, they advance on their trademark blokeishness to embrace a beefier and slicker kind of guitar-led groove. Coming on like mid-period Foo Fighters played by a gang of congenial tree surgeons, the album kicks off with the massive ‘I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You’. Stacked full of festival-sized riffs, singer/guitarist Craig Finn is on mean and fiery form. Downtempo balladry also gets a look-in, with the ‘The Ambassador’ providing a thoughtful counter to the electrified Americana anthems of ‘The Only Thing’ and ‘Wait Awhile’.
- Record label: Washington Square
- Release date: 24 Mar, 2014