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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Hold Steady - Randy Newman meets Husker Du.
Brooklyn stalwarts The Hold Steady once produced a great album that told us to "Stay Positive". After the rather average fare that was 2010's "Heaven is Whenever" positivity was in in short supply, a half empty glass appeared and it sadly looked that this band was running out of steam. Things had to change and on "Teeth Dreams" the bands guiding leader Craig Finn has...
Published 4 months ago by Red on Black

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Big tunes and riffs back but a production let down
The good news is that the big tunes of their Boys and Girls in America are back with a vengeance. The album pales in comparison to the mighty Separation Sunday though and lags someway behind the brilliant Boys and Girls in America too. It's partly the formerly brilliant lyrics, which are weaker here as on the last album, but it's also the production of Teeth Dreams, which...
Published 3 months ago by Simon Turner


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Big tunes and riffs back but a production let down, 27 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Teeth Dreams (Audio CD)
The good news is that the big tunes of their Boys and Girls in America are back with a vengeance. The album pales in comparison to the mighty Separation Sunday though and lags someway behind the brilliant Boys and Girls in America too. It's partly the formerly brilliant lyrics, which are weaker here as on the last album, but it's also the production of Teeth Dreams, which makes a sort of "guitar soup", weakening those crunchy Kubler riffs. Craig Finn's voice is also pushed quite a way back to make it sound like more conventional, 'popular' singers presumably. A pity in both cases.

Craig Finn was up there with Patterson Hood as greatest songwriter of his generation for Separation... and Boys and Girls.... The track Big Cig here would hopefully have made it on the latter. It's the one most like their style on the aforementioned albums but lacks the sheer presence of the Boys and Girls tracks. More specifically, the presence the Hold Steady miss is that of Franz Nicolay. Listening again to Boys and Girls In America, it's illuminating to realise how many of the moments that raise the hair on the back of the neck are supplied by Nicolay's piano and organ fills. Unfortunately for Nicolay, he needs the Hold Steady more than they need him.

Part of the pleasure of a Hold Steady album comes from the 30, 40, 50 plays that bring the words and motivations through. On With the Business and Runner's High on Teeth Dreams illustrate wordplay that while not quite blazing as it did still offers many rewards though occasionally only by reading them do they come through.

Despite the reservations compared to their past albums, at least two of which were genius, it's very hard not to enjoy this album, as most songs have that sense of the euphoric and are infectious with ringing riffs from guitarist Tad Kubler. The draggy final couple are not the best note to end on.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Hold Steady - Randy Newman meets Husker Du., 24 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Teeth Dreams (Audio CD)
Brooklyn stalwarts The Hold Steady once produced a great album that told us to "Stay Positive". After the rather average fare that was 2010's "Heaven is Whenever" positivity was in in short supply, a half empty glass appeared and it sadly looked that this band was running out of steam. Things had to change and on "Teeth Dreams" the bands guiding leader Craig Finn has moved even deeper into the darkness on the edge of town and in doing so largely downplayed the explicit "pop" edge within the band. The sound here is a sort of Randy Newman meets Husker Du with a large splash of Clash thrown in through the dual guitar assault of Tad Kubler and new band member Steve Selvidge. It appears to have remedied the situation as "Teeth Dreams" is the Hold Steady back on course and producing an album worth seeking out with some urgency.

The colours are pretty much nailed to the mast from the off. Opener "I hope this whole thing didn't frighten you" is an enormous blast of guitar riffery and a big Finn vocal spitting out the warning lines that "There was a side of this city I didn't want you to see/There's just these guys that I know we go back pretty deep". The pace is further quickened for "Spinners" a clear album standout. It also shows the difference between this album and its predecessors. Finn is no longer in the endless search of the catchy hook or melodic shortcut. This anthem is built on sheer power and energy and as a result "Spinners" is easily one of their best recorded moments. Throughout the tone is relentless with "The Only Thing" powering along with pace and verve. When a slight pause is introduced with the very nice rock ballad "The Ambassador", the quiet is rudely broken with the introduction of "On with business" which would bring a huge grin to the late great Phil Lynott's face. The echoes of Thin Lizzy are all over it and its pummelling power chords has led Finn to openly admit that it is his favourite on the album.

"Wait a while" is the most euphoric rocker on the album with a hint of a Joe Walsh riff. But it is the concluding "Oaks" a near nine minute closer in the tradition of "First Night" that is the albums most intriguing track starting with Finn's vision that "We dream of the views from the boats / Of mountains all covered in oaks" and ending with an extended guitar solo which actually works in an almost "Purple Rain" sense. Such songs are departures from the Hold Steady norm to such an extent that the most recognisable song of the band of old namely "Big Cig" is almost disappointing as a consequence. "Teeth Dreams" is Craig Finn's big rock record and if its not quite up there with 2006's "Boys and Girls in America" that's because the bar was set so high. All in all this record will produce a big wide smile to expose your pearly whites.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I would pay 125 for this album., 5 April 2014
This review is from: Teeth Dreams (Audio CD)
The Hold Steady are the best band in the world. All their albums are growers - give this and all of their albums 10 listens, pay attention to the lyrics, and your life will never be the same.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arguably better because of it, 4 July 2014
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This review is from: Teeth Dreams (Audio CD)
A different direction from previous albums. Arguably better because of it...
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Teeth Dreams, 4 May 2014
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This review is from: Teeth Dreams (Audio CD)
A good but not great cd. Nice sound but nothing special. Worth a view in any event. Interested to see what their next cd's like.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BACK TO THE TOP, 1 May 2014
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This review is from: Teeth Dreams (Audio CD)
If anyone really knows THS they love just two albums. First, "Separation Sunday" from 2005 which contained the best overall Hold Steady track Stevie Nix. And then we had "Boys and Girls" one year later which, to date, still represents their finest album. Coherent too. Stay Positive and Heaven were disappointing... So, it is with great enthusiasm that I can say THS finally have their foot back on the ball and have produced and wonderful and varied album. JUST BUY IT... poetry and love.
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