The Hold Steady: Teeth Dreams
Fans of The Hold Steady expect gritty narratives about booze, rehab, blood and redemption, tales of muddle-headed scenesters, sex and Jesus, all delivered with singer Craig Finnâ€™s jittery urgency. They crave epic riffs and classic-rock style. Thereâ€™s all that on Teeth Dreams, the bandâ€™s sixth studio record. Like on 2010â€™s Heaven Is Whenever, Finn again avoids his recurring charactersâ€”like Holly, Charlemagne and Gideon, but he retains his ear for the perspective of tragicomic dudes: â€śI said a couple things that probably werenâ€™t technically true,â€ť goes one line. In sound and feel, Teeth Dreams is a return to the muscular chug of 2008â€™s Stay Positive. (Production-value vigilantes may wrinkle their noses at the occasional overdramatic echo on the vocals.) Thereâ€™s an element of familiarity to The Hold Steadyâ€”like souped-up Thin Lizzy and Bruce Springsteenâ€”with hat tips to Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Clash, Tom Petty and a lot of other icons. And now, the band has reached that phase where they sound like themselves, which is only a problem if you are hungry for newness.