Their style is instantly recognisable, their continued quality almost taken for granted, but there are some notable differences about this, The Hold Steady’s fifth album. Their first recorded without keyboardist / multi-instrumentalist Franz Nicolay, ‘Heaven Is Whenever’ is a more guitar-led, rockier record than their breakthrough ‘Boys and Girls in America’ and 08’s ‘Stay Positive’. Far from having a negative affect on these 10 songs, The Hold Steady have flourished in this slight change of tack, with frontman Craig Finn’s inimitable, narrative lyrics as stirring as ever, particular in the ace ‘Hurricane J’ and ‘A Slight Discomfort’, which closes the record with truly affecting class.
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