Partisan Records [Release Date 26/4/19]
Brooklyn-based band The Hold Steady had already made quite a name for themselves with their lyrical storytelling and classic rock influences when their front-man, Craig Finn, began a parallel solo career back in 2012. The classic riffs and catchy melodies of The Hold Steady had given way to a more mellow musical approach in a Johnny-Cash-meets-indie-rock sort of way but, clearly, Finn had happened upon something that many were looking for. Finn’s last solo album ‘We All Want The Same Things’, released in 2017, received no shortage of plaudits and he will be hoping to make a similar impact with’ I Need A New War’. Again, Finn’s rich narratives, world-weary characters and laid-back, seen-it-all-before delivery take centre-stage on this new album.
“I saw this record as the third part of a trilogy,” says Finn. “Thematically, this was the third group of songs that I had written about smaller moments – people trying to stay afloat in modern times, attempting to find connection, achieving tiny triumphs and frustrating let downs in their day to day lives. Also, this was the third record in a row that I’d made with these musicians, along with engineer D. James Goodwin, following Faith in the Future (2015) and We All Want The Same Things (2017).”
Finn has moved effortlessly from twenty-first century rocker to timeless singer-songwriter and the musicians he has brought together evidently have a natural feel for what the artist is working to achieve. Horns, piano and sensitive guitar work fill out the sound and give the release the vibe of an album you instinctively know is trying to tell you something. ‘I Need A New War’ will certainly help cement Craig Finn’s reputation of a modern-day singer-songwriter of some note. ***1/2
Review by Darren Johnson
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