Oxfordshire quartet deliver party music for introverts on sophomore album “How To Be A Human Being.” The band plays Crystal Ballroom on Dec. 14.
Craig Finn has been around the block a few times, and he’s told a few stories during his journey. The frontman of The Hold Steady has a seemingly endless supply of tales. The music lays the backdrop and sets the tone, but the meat of it is in his words.
But depending on the delivery system, the content can change. Finn’s solo work is incredibly personal, offering audiences reflections on the wake of his misfortunes. When he’s singing with The Hold Steady, he doesn’t necessarily shy away from those topics, but the lens through which he views them is radically different. It’s as though his solo work reflects who he is around those closest to him and The Hold Steady is his public persona — letting you in, but not quite all the way.
Finn’s solo work is a blend of folk and slower styles of indie/alt-rock. But the music is merely the vessel. Finn reveals truths about intimacy, relationships, and his personal demons seamlessly over whatever he deems the aural representation of his stories. His intimate moments offer solemn piano ballads behind his aching voice. His happy moments, still laced with reflection, offer up a gleeful, carefree croon.
It’s difficult for artists to show both sides of their lives, the aching heartbreak and the unbridled joy; frequently we see performers reveal themselves over time and get pigeonholed as sad artists. Other times, artists view their music as their only creative outlet for processing their misfortunes and never as a way to reflect on the times they’re doing alright. Creatives have a bad habit of fetishizinig their sorrows.
Finn doesn’t have this issue. His music and stories are a window to his life, showing both good times and bad. He’s able to take each moment as it comes and translate it to an uplifting, high-energy rock song or a sobering sad jam.»
– Tyler Sanford
*The March 17 Japandroids/Craig Finn show at Revolution hall is sold out.