The Upshot: Hold Steady mainman serves up verve, swagger, poignancy, and cool – not unlike the Hold Steady, in fact.
BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
With a steady solo career well underway, and a hiatus from the Hold Steady taken at ongoing intervals, Craig Finn continues to etch an identity that, while not all that far removed from his day job, still manages to show him to be an authority figure all on his own. Bearing a title that speaks as a mantra that ought to be well heeded, We All Want the Same Things is a bold statement, full of Everyman anthems, confidence and credence.
Songs like “Preludes,” “Tracking Shots,” “Tangletown” and “Rescue Blues” find his pliable vocals emitting that certain verve and swagger. Finn portrays himself as a kind of scrappy, street-savvy hipster, and it’s that irreverent attitude, combined with plenty of nuanced narratives, that win him comparisons to Springsteen with the early E Street Band in tow, as well as a certain similarity to Thin Lizzy’s late leader Phil Lynott. That’s particularly true of the casual saunter that underscores “Ninety Bucks” and “Birds Trapped in the Airport,” songs elevated by a percolating pulse and a boundless sense of determination. Spoken intros to “Jester & June” and “God In Chicago” add a certain poignancy, bolstering the impression that Finn’s lived all these tales he tells.
That combination of cool and cred serves him well yet again, and if the Hold Steady ever opt to give him his leave, Finn’s finesse will assure the fact he won’t miss a beat.
DOWNLOAD: “Tangletown,” “Birds Trapped in the Airport,” “God in Chicago”