In Barlight she looked alright.
In daylight she looked desperate.
That’s alright, I was desperate too.
I’m getting pretty sick of this interview.
Subpoenad in Texas.
Sequestered in Memphis.
Hookers, low lifes, townies, druggies, murderers, junkies, drop outs, boozers, brawlers and losers.
Such is the canvas that Craig Finn writes about in this jaw dropping record. A record that, for me, might just define Rock and Roll. I know, it’s an outrageous claim, but have you heard it? It’s on a level with the way that, for me at least, London Calling defines punk, Reproduction defines electronica, and G.P./Grevious Angel defines country.
I’ve been hanging onto this one for a while because I know I can go over the top about great stuff that melts like spring snow as soon as the initial rush of enthusiasm dies down. But that’s not the case here. For a start, on first listening I was mildly disappointed. It didn’t seem to have quite the same shock value of hearing a band like this for the first time that its predecessor, the sublime ‘Boys and Girls in America’ did.
But take it from me that this is on a different level. The aforementioned lyrics (they are poems unfolding as bleak, heartfelt stories of subcool America) are at times heartbreaking. The choruses are shriek out loud singalong. I cannot wait to see them live agian. It will be a very hoarse experience
But they are beautiful, haunting and I can’t actually sleep at night for singing them in my head.
And there’s a harpsichord on track three – the blood and guts, did she didn’t she murder him, morality tale that is One for the Cutters.
I will state here and now though that this in no way dilutes my total and utter admiration for Dig Lazarus Dig by Nick Cave.
What a year for rock and roll.
Thank you Hold Steady.
Here’s a snatch of the above truly wonderful song.