The Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams

Washington Square/Razor & Tie

The Hold Steady are one of those bands that seem to get a pass on whatever they release. The Brooklyn band’s last album 2010’s Heaven Is Whenever was such an uninspired dullard that it felt like the band that made Separation Sunday was replaced by pod people. It’s been four years since and judging by Teeth Dreams it turns out this band is simply getting old.

Sure The Hold Steady never had youthfulness going for them but their “Budweiser-swigging dude trying to reclaim youthfulness” charm instilled a number of anthems on those first three albums. Gone are those great narratives that made singing along so fun and now Teeth Dreams just sounds like the guys are preparing for life in La-Z-Boys.

Craig Finn described Teeth Dreams as “less wild” and well no shit Sherlock. “The Ambassador” might recall Bob Seger’s “Like A Rock” but it hardly runs deep like a Chevy. And “Runner’s High” is the worst kind of southern ’70s saloon rock. Finn’s songs sound like the well’s run dry as he reverts to nostalgia for old songs (like “Slapped Actress” or “The Only Thing”) which only convinces us to go back and listen to those instead.

Looks like Franz Nicolay was on to something when he jumped ship in 2010 because The Hold Steady are barely holding steady these days.