CD Boys and Girls in America (CD 846848),
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Boys and Girls in America
The Hold Steady
1. Stuck Between Stations
2. Chips Ahoy!
3. Hot Soft Light
4. Same Kooks
5. First Night
6. Party Pit
7. You Can Make Him Like You
8. Massive Nights
10. Chillout Tent
11. Southtown Girls
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 442
TJ Doherty; John Agnello
Personnel: Dana Kletter, Dave Pirner, Elizabeth Elmore (vocals); Drew Glackin (lap steel guitar); Jean Cook (violin); Caleb Burhans (viola); Peter Hess (tenor saxophone); Lloyd Debonis (trumpet); Alan Ferber (trombone).
Audio Mixers: John Agnello; Ted Young.
Recording information: Atomic Studios, New York, NY; Water-Music Recorders, Hoboken, NJ.
Photographer: Marina Chavez.
The Strokes' breakthrough of the early 2000s made indie rock safe for unabashed retro stylings, and no band embraced this ethos more than Brooklyn's the Hold Steady. Synonymous with "throwback" and "bar band," their excellent debut heralded the return of spirited, no-frills rock. Whereas that record brilliantly fused indie aesthetics with the blue-collarisms of Springsteen and Thin Lizzy, BOYS AND GIRLS IN AMERICA, their third full-length and Vagrant debut, finds them getting away from indie rock for a full-blown Springsteen fixation.
The whole record echoes the piano-driven orchestral bombast of BORN TO RUN particularly on the opening track, "Stuck Between Stations" (read: "Thunder Road") and the drunken ballad "First Night" (read: "Backstreets"). It doesn't help matters that Craig Finn's throat-and-guts yowl recalls the Boss's more than ever. The difference comes with the lyrics: while Springsteen's offer hope in the face of despair, Finn's wallow in parties that aren't fun anymore, mixed signals and missed opportunities with women, and chemical crutches. The latter figure prominently, and Finn's raw talent for barstool poetics--like "some nights the painkillers make the pain even worse" from "Chips Ahoy"--is unmatched. Finn's undeniable talent positions him--despite his idolatry--less as his generation's Springsteen and more like its Shane MacGowan. No small feat, that.
Rolling Stone (p.69) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "BOYS is a sweet thing: fist-pumpable rock with brains, heart and words worth coming back to."
Rolling Stone (p.103) - Ranked #8 in Rolling Stone's "The Top 50 Albums Of 2006" -- "[W]ith an abundance of narrative flair."
Spin (p.97) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "The Hold Steady's Craig Finn infuses his windy tales of youthful debauchery with a mixture of detective-fiction luridness and first-club-show romanticism."
Spin (p.59) - Ranked #21 in Spin's "The 40 Best Albums of 2006" -- "Plunging you into an immediately familiar teenage wasteland, these 11 songs won't ever let you leave."
Entertainment Weekly (p.68) - "[T]he swirls of organ they've added to their hyper-literate stomping suggest Deep Purple with a library card." -- Grade: A-
Q (p.104) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Finn has tapped into his inner Springsteen. BOYS AND GIRLS IN AMERICA is punctuated with flourishes that wouldn't have sounded out of place on BORN TO RUN."
Uncut (p.90) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "Driven by devastating detail....Finn's writing is sharper than ever..."
Alternative Press (p.198) - "There's something inherently Springsteen-esque about these songs, but Finn's approach is ultimately less romantic. Likewise, the band's approach...is both grittier and more unhinged."
Alternative Press (p.136) - Included in Alternative Press's "10 Essential Albums Of 2006" -- "This is blue-collar rock 'n' roll to bridge the new generation."
No Depression (p.83) - "The music evokes early Springsteen, with huge guitar riffs, sensitive piano passages, and anthemic vocal choruses..."
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.49) - "[Finn's] gruff sing/speak vocal amplifies the grubby minutiae of the everyday into something indisputably universal."
Q (Magazine) (p.87) - Ranked #09 in Q's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2007" -- "[Finn is] a singular storyteller..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.100) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[R]ich and detailed....'You Can Make Him Like You' is a beautifully empathetic portrait of chemically imbalanced romance..."
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Vagrant (USA) 442
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