The Hold Steady
Teeth Dreams


4.0
excellent

Review

by BigHans USER (108 Reviews)
April 2nd, 2014 | 27 replies


Release Date: 03/25/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We’ll still raise our glasses to the Gods of booze rock at Hold Steady gigs, it’s just that the band itself will no longer be the most blasted people present.

By now we pretty much know how a new Hold Steady album is going to play out. “Teeth Dreams” finds most of the bands formula (being the best band in every gin-soaked watering hole in the world) in alignment with the past, if only slightly reduced on the bombast scale. Front man Craig Finn’s reputation for being a parking lot poet, a beatnik-loving, hipster-baiting, downtrodden-female-worshipping, self-effacing genius who comes up with the kind of intellectual, snark-riddled word play only the rest of us can dream of is well preserved. Lead guitarist Tad Kubler may not riff as hard now that he’s able to actually play a gig without being propped up by a liter of vodka, but there are enough tasty licks on “Teeth Dreams” to satisfy the quota. The only glaring change is that The Hold Steady have finally figured out how to replace the enormous, Springsteen-ian piano flourishes that were lost at the departure of former pianist Franz Nicholay. Namely, they have traded in a small piece of the rock-out factor for enhanced melody, potentially a by-product of not only being the oldest guys at the frat party, but embracing the fact they have everyone there by at least two decades.

Lead single “I Hope This Whole Thing Doesn’t Frighten You” is by-the-numbers Hold Steady; riffs and bristling metaphors about the city, the night, and all of the characters reveling in its seedy underbelly. Aside from this ode to just about every song they’ve ever done, everything else on “Teeth Dreams” is slightly scaled back. Ballads “The Ambassador” and “Almost Everything” recall the same stories of bars and unrequited love seen throughout their discography, yet are well-executed moments that divide the album’s mid and closing section. “The Only Thing” sounds like it was ripped straight from a Gin Blossoms demo/boozing/self-loathing session from 1994. It has that jangly, infectious melodic guitar we heard on the “Hey Jealousy’s” of the world, and it works tremendously, to the point that despite its complete aversion to the band’s previous mantra of riff-laced rock, it might be one of their best songs. “Spinners” continues Finn’s overpowering obsession with tortured women, the city, and realizing the best way to address the problem is through an enormously catchy chorus. “Runners High” and “Wait Awhile” are melodic rockers that collide well with album closer “The Oaks,” a sprawling melodic ode to embracing inevitable change even if you’re too f*cking scared to leave it behind.

It’s true that while Finn and company slide into middle age, they’ve lost some of the snarl that catapulted them as legends. Despite the lack of anything resembling the “Party Pits,” the“Little Hoodrat Friends,” and “Constructive Summers” of yore, it’s encouraging that The Hold Steady are riding the inevitable crush of time gracefully. The party is still in play, it’s just more geared to the slow come-down of the night rather than its raging prime. Glory in its truest form can only be held for so long, and its better the band is still able to grasp a piece of it rather than completely crumbling under the weight of past triumphs. We’ll still raise our glasses to the Gods of booze rock at Hold Steady gigs, it’s just that the band itself will no longer be the most blasted people present. At least for now, that’s ok.



Recent reviews by this author
Paw DraglineDrive-by Truckers English Oceans
Ranger Knights of DarknessGrim Reaper Rock You To Hell
Machine Head Machine Fucking Head LiveRush Permanent Waves
user ratings (44)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
BigHans
April 1st 2014


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wont be around to post much tonight, but did a quick write up because its a damn disgrace this has been out for a week and hasn't been reviewed.

Inveigh
April 1st 2014


25216 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

knew you would review this bro, awesome work. i like when you go back to a more straight-forward
review style.

can't believe I haven't jammed this yet. that will change tonight.

Digging: Nero Di Marte - Derivae

johnnyblaze
April 1st 2014


2637 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

killer review. i feel pretty much the same way. i miss the more bombast side of them as well - the "wo-oh-oh's" and whatnot.

minor typo - "The One Thing" should be "The Only Thing"

Satellite
April 1st 2014


20826 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is tits. could do without the reverb vocal effects. sup hans.

Inveigh
April 1st 2014


25216 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

whoa Satty sighting !

Green Baron
April 1st 2014


20356 Comments


I liked the single, prob might check this out

johnnyblaze
April 1st 2014


2637 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

123 on those fucking vocal effects. irk the shit outta me.

single rules. I really prefer the first half of the record.

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
April 1st 2014


13466 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

my rating is hopeful right now it's like a 4 damn this band rules tho

HenchmanOfSanta
April 1st 2014


1928 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This just did not do it for me. Might need a few more listens.

BigHans
April 1st 2014


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

killer review. i feel pretty much the same way. i miss the more bombast side of them as well - the "wo-oh-oh's" and whatnot.

minor typo - "The One Thing" should be "The Only Thing"

^ Thanks for pointing out that typo, pretty dumb of me to mislabel a song that I say is one of the bands best, lol.

There are some woo-ohs in the chorus of that song, the only place the album I picked them up.

CaptainDooRight
April 2nd 2014


30373 Comments


Is this by any chance related to Waking Life

Digging: Henryk Gorecki - Symphony No. 3, Op. 36

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
April 2nd 2014


6515 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really don't like the strange effect on Craig's voice throughout this album. Band can still play though.

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
April 2nd 2014


13466 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i really enjoy spinners ♥

ABjordanMM
April 2nd 2014


1453 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

on with the business is ace

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 2nd 2014


20166 Comments


sweet review hans. gonna check these guys out

Digging: Johann Sebastian Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
April 2nd 2014


13466 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's really important that you do

HenchmanOfSanta
April 2nd 2014


1928 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

sweet review hans. gonna check these guys out
Check out at least one of their first three before this (preferably Boys and Girls in America).


Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
April 2nd 2014


8026 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just started a review for this, GUESS I DON'T NEED TO WRITE IT NOW

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
April 2nd 2014


13466 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

http://www.sputnikmusic.com/forums/image.php?u=272978&dateline=1396460262

fromtheinside
April 3rd 2014


19224 Comments


This is a really good review. I've never listened to this band tho.
I feel like a while back I chose between the National and this band and simply never looked back

Digging: Techno Animal - The Brotherhood of the Bomb



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy