Since their early years The Hold Steady have made quality rock music that could fall under a number of sub genres. Lead by the wordsmith Craig Finn, the band has never really let fans both old and new down. On their eighth album Open Door Policy all of that greatness continues. The album on their new imprint Positive Jams in conjunction with Thirty Tigers, the album covers a broad range of topics in the modern world while delivering some of the best compositions they’re arranged to date.
The swell of rock emanation that breaks free on the opener “The Feelers” shows that the band hasn’t lost a step in the years they’ve been together. The piano versus Finn’s words create this lounge hearty haze as if the band is reveling on a past they may have helped herald. There’s an amazing composition to the song, mixing traditional rock tropes with a more updated tone. This overall sound continues on the following track “Spices.” The bent strings of the guitar as Finn splices phrasing of a tale about an attractive acquaintance. The arrangements here are more diverse than on previous albums by the band, yet it all still has that tonal quality that the band has always held.
Of course, the band steers into different spaces here with great ease. However the uumph that drove the band’s popularity is still present. “Family Farm” drives into a lush and hearty guitar driven sound just like you want. The vocals sway above those thundering drums and the thump of the bass. “The Prior Procedure” doesn’t let you forget that this is a rock band after all. With the prowess that reminds you of The Replacements without being a lift, there’s plenty here that you can still sink your teeth into.
Though between the key driven sexual swagger of “Lanyards,” the upbeat guitar chunk of “Riptown” and the almost Steely Dan vibes of “Hanover Camera;” the favorite here comes with “Me & Magdalena.” The bombastic stabs between piano and drums that come and go before the song falls into a relaxed lounge sound is mesmerizing. With a spoken word, the energetic squeals that make their mark and the chaotic nature that stays in check, the song is a great representation of an album where some bans like The Hold Steady just get better with age.
Open Door Policy is available to purchase directly from Positive Jams. It’s also available to buy in all digital outlets or it can be streamed on all streaming sites. The Hold Steady will be on tour beginning March 05 at Brooklyn Bowl via live-stream until May 29, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia at Corner Hotel. Their complete tour schedule can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo by Adam Parshall.