THE HOLD STEADY – The Hold Steady Nearly Killed Me (French Kiss)

The Hold Steady are the new name to drop in American rock circles. Their last album ‘Boys And Girls In America’ garnered rave reviews throughout the music press, so I ordered in from my local emporium, and while I was waiting for it to arrive I found some tracks on the internet to see what I was getting. One song stood out so much that I immediately sent off for their debut album ‘Nearly Killed Me’ and I can see straight away why everyone loves the band. Craig Finn belongs to the shouty school of vocalists, and no-one would say that he is a great singer, but the way that the lyrics complement the classic rock sound of the band is exactly why the Fall have lasted as long as they have. Listen to opener ‘Positive Jam’ and you will know from the off whether you will like the band, and from there on tracks like ‘Barfruit Blues’ and ‘Knuckles’ will make you love them even more. And then you get ‘Most People Are DJ’s’, which is the song that prompted me to get his album in the first place. It starts out like any other of their songs – intriguing lyrics over heavy rock backing, but then at 3’23 a guitar kicks in and we are treated to two and half minutes of the best guitar solo I have heard in a very long time. It ends all too soon, and then ‘Certain Songs’ lets you get your breath back for a minute before ‘Hostile, Mass.’ and ‘Killer Parties’ get you dancing again. If you like bands who can marry witty lyrics to a classic rock beat then The Hold Steady are for you.