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The Hold Steady presents a pragmatic stylistic relapse on ‘Teeth Dreams’

Album review: The Hold Steady’s ‘Teeth Dreams’

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The Hold Steady
Teeth Dreams
Razor and Tie
★★★ (out of 5 stars)

Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn recently made his own custom craft beer, Clear Heart, named after his 2012 solo album. That’s pretty fitting, considering the Hold Steady’s fondness for rollicking bar anthems. Following an entirely too polished and carbon-copy album (2010’s Heaven Is Whenever), Teeth Dreams becomes the Brooklyn group’s sixth official full-length, largely steeped in what the band was originally cherished for: talk-singing narratives; muted riffs that lead to open-strung, sing-along choruses; and a rhythm that keeps a listener’s toes tapping. It’s another of many recent so-called return-to-form albums, but the Hold Steady’s regression is more pragmatic. These dudes have seen their fair share of American midlife crises, so when these bar anthems begin to electrify with their inebriated buzz, they’re tempered by a heavy-but-persevering heart – exactly what you want to hear from a band at this stage.

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