RATING: 7/10


After many years, band line-up changes, and six unique records, it can be difficult to keep things fresh and new. But maybe it’s all about how the stories are told; how the words are said; how the feelings are given out and in return, brought out of whoever’s listening. This works as a strength in The Hold Steady‘s ten-track album, ‘Thrashing Thru The Passion‘.

The noteworthy storytelling within the record is found from the opening track, ‘Denver Haircut’. There’s no fading in, no easing in – instead, it jumps in at the best speed suitable for their style. Considered an ideal opener for the album by the band and no doubt by the fans and listeners alike, it sets a relaxed atmosphere as they story is read out through the lyrics. Lead vocalist Craig Finn tells the story of a man who lives his life and goes on adventures, only to be left alone in the end with only memories left for him to live through. Some albums thrive on having an energetic starter to a track listing, but having a chilled tale of life and loss feels like what’s best for ‘Thrashing Thru The Passion‘ and is what kick starts the music journey in the best way for the band.

“it’s all about how the stories are told; how the words are said; how the feelings are given out…”

As the album plays through, the slow and chill pace speeds up and turns soft tracks into catchier tunes. A predicted fan favourite put on the table is ‘Entitlement Crew’. Differing from where the album began, this track picks up the tempo slightly – just right – and the transitions between a settled beat and a faster beat is timed greatly. Why a fan favourite? Well, from a mindset of someone who isn’t into heavy music and ear-bleeding guitar riffs, it matches what more soft rock and indie fans will be seeking out. So for indie fans looking for their taste, maybe give The Hold Steady a chance with ‘Entitlement Crew’.

The tone of the music changes with the penultimate track, ‘The Stove & The Toaster’. Why it changes, there’s no clear-cut reason; is it due to the changing percussion beat or the patter of keys in the background throughout? Perhaps both, but they each bring a new sense as the album winds down to its fitting finish. It reduces the energetic vibes that built up over the previous tracks within the album tracklist, but still maintained at its core, energy. The energy that will bring it right through to its very end.

“…The Hold Steady may be unstoppable within their corner of the music industry.”

The album ends with ‘Confusion in the Marketplace’, and by this point, it’s all too clear that the styles and sounds are a variety of inspirations spliced together. The record prevents itself from being categorised as repetitive, and after ten full songs, there’s no room for doubt or denial.

A consistent and creative finisher for this journey, it’s proven that The Hold Steady may be unstoppable within their corner of the music industry. Six albums down, the seventh one is another turning point with hooking narratives, sweet and soft guitar strums, and a consistency of variety from minute to minute, composition to composition.

For the indie rock fans who are looking to reach out for something new and different, this is the band they need. Most importantly, this is the band they will want.




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