Artist: Craig Finn
Album: Clear Heart Full Eyes
Craig finn, lead singer and song writer of The Hold Steady, has a very specific style of song writing. Finn writes stories, and his characters and locales frequently end up making appearances in other songs. This literary tendency is one that seemingly lends itself well to a stripped-down solo album, but on Finn’s first outing without The Hold Steady, Clear Heart Full Eyes, things don’t exactly gel like they should. It’s difficult to not imagine the kind of kick in the pants that The Hold Steady would have been able to give to “When No One’s Watching” and “Balcony.” Some songs stand tall on their own, such as the fantastic, slithering opener “Apollo Baby” and the single, “Honolulu Blues.” Elsewhere, Finn continues his fascination with Christ on “New Friend Jesus,” but that’s a tune we’ve heard many times before, especially on The Hold Steady’s Separation Sunday. Here, it sounds stale and tired.
Perhaps it is unfair of me to make so many comparisons to the work of Finn’s day job, but even “New Friend Jesus” could have benefited from some punk guitars. Craig Finn is one of the most talented songwriters on the scene today, but this stripped down version just doesn’t hit the mark.