Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Craig Finn: "Faith In the Future" (album review)

As the leader of The Hold Steady, Craig Finn has been an integral part of what has been one of my favorite bands of the last decade.  Last week he released his second solo album, Faith In the Future.

The new album is a far cry from his sparser debut, Clear Hearts, Full Eyes.  This album is far more fleshed out and dynamic than the intimate 'one man in a room with a guitar' sound of the first record.

The album opens up with "Maggie I've Been Searching for Our Son", a song that's peppier than anything on the previous record.  The jangly love(ish) song "Christine" and the propulsive "Newmyer's Roof" add to that vibe.  Horns and drums burst holes in the celebratory "Roman Guitars".

Things take a more melancholy turn on "Sandra From Scranton" with it's weeping guitar.  Despite a laid back sway, "Going To a Show" offers up one of the best refrains about lonesomeness with the lines 'I try so hard not to talk to myself/but it's hard 'cause I'm always alone'.

Of course, storytelling is a major part of Finn's writing.  Here we get the noteworthy tale of an abusive relationship with "Sarah, Calling From a Hotel", and the street rate narrative "Trapper Avenue".  He goes for epic with the closer "I Was Doing Fine (Then a Few People Died).

With Faith In the Future Finn may have produce his best work since THS's Stay Positive.  And I don't say that lightly.

Craig Finn plays the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on October 17th.

Best tracks: "Going to a Show", "I Was Doing Fine (Then a Few People Died)

Track listing for Faith In the Future:
  • Maggie I've Been Searching for Our Son
  • Roman Guitars
  • Newmyer's Roof
  • Sarah, Calling from a Hotel
  • Going to a Show
  • Sandra From Scranton
  • Saint Peter Upside Down
  • Trapper Avenue
  • Christine
  • I Was Doing Fine (Then Some People Died)

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