Thursday, August 23, 2012

Craig Finn: Clear Heart Full Eyes

"Although [Hold Steady front man] Finn digs even deeper into some of the spiritual themes he’s explored before, 'Clear Heart Full Eyes' is bleaker than the Hold Steady’s albums. The marginal characters populating these songs seem less predisposed toward redemption; they’re somehow more defeated and their frailties feel harder and less escapable. These songs are less about characters who take refuge in the community of the scene — a central tenet of Hold Steady mythology — than retreat inside themselves. ... The music matches Finn’s somber mood. Recorded with producer Mike McCarthy and a four-piece backing band last summer in Austin, Texas, the songs are fairly subdued country-rockers. Moaning steel guitar lends a rootsy cast to 'Western Pier' and shores up the moody opener, 'Apollo Bay,' while fast, twangy electric leads zip around deceptively jaunty acoustic guitar on 'Friend Named Jesus.' Finn sings in gently weary tones on 'Jackson,' and wistfully recounts memories over prickly cascades of electric guitar on 'Rented Room,' his narrator stuck in a psychic limbo state that is at once comfortable and not, in equal measures. It’s often a dark album, but 'Clear Heart Full Eyes' is also absorbing, largely because it finds Finn doing what he does best: telling vivid stories" (Eric R. Danton, "Craig Finn Resets Expectations With Solo Debut," Sound Check, 1/124/12).

View catalog record here!


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