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Teeth Dreams

March 25, 2014 | Format: MP3

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Digital Booklet: Teeth Dreams
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Another great set of songs & stories from The Hold Steady. However, Nick Raskulinecz just does not get that these guys are raw, stripped down bar band. Everything he produces is starting to sound the same: too much compression, the over processed vocals, the stadium sounding drum kit, and those modern-rock ready guitars. This is not THAT band! They're not going to get played on Modern Rock Radio and they are not going to play big concert halls. The sound of the record should be like their live sound. This one sounds a little too clever and polished for its own good.
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Format: Audio CD
Brooklyn stalwarts The Hold Steady once produced a great album that told us to "Stay Positive". After the rather average fare that was 2010's "Heaven is Whenever" positivity was in in short supply, a half empty glass appeared and it sadly looked that this band was running out of steam. Things had to change and on "Teeth Dreams" the bands guiding leader Craig Finn has moved even closer into the darkness on the edge of town and in doing so largely eliminated the "pop" edge within the band. The sound here is a sort of Randy Newman meets Husker Du with a large splash of Clash thrown in through the dual guitar assault of Tad Kubler and new band member Steve Selvidge. It appears to have remedied the situation as "Teeth Dreams" is the Hold Steady largely back on course and producing an album worth seeking out.

The colours are pretty much nailed to the mast from the off. Opener "I hope this whole thing didn't frighten you" is an enormous blast of guitar riffery and a big Finn vocal spitting out the warning lines that "There was a side of this city I didn't want you to see/There's just these guys that I know we go back pretty deep". The pace is further quickened for "Spinners" a clear album standout. It also shows the difference between this album and its predecessors. Finn is no longer in the endless search of the catchy hook or melodic shortcut. This anthem is built on sheer power and energy and as a result "Spinners" is easily one of their best recorded moments. Throughout the tone is relentless with "The Only Thing" powering along with pace and verve.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
"Lunar Boulevard" (above) hit the nail on the head with this one - for some reason The Hold Steady have taken their greatest assets, Craig Finn's unique vocal style and witty lyrics, and drowned them in echo effects. I can't recall any other album where the echo is quite so distracting. When I think of the Hold Steady, I think of Finn raspily singing/rapping about good parties gone bad and bar hopping nights that went off the rails. It's very frustrating to hear a band "soften" their strengths. I realize many people hate Finn's distinctive voice - I hope they aren't catering to the critics (the last album was already moving in this direction).
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Format: Audio CD
After nearly four years The Hold Steady have finally graced us with their sixth album, Teeth Dreams. There's no doubt that this has been a long time coming and the end result is somewhat satisfying but far less interesting than some of their previous work.

The LP opens promisingly, with lead single "I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You" kicking things off in high gear. It's a solid rock tune, though for some reason Craig Finn's voice sounds distorted on the chorus. It's distracting and pulls you out of the song, a common problem that occurs frequently on Teeth Dreams. His unique vocals are constantly tweaked and laden with unnecessary effects that don't compliment the songs in any meaningful way. "Spinners" is one of the album's best cuts, a pop/rock tune that wouldn't sound out of place on a Counting Crows record, courtesy of jangley guitars and Finn's trademark storytelling. It's a solid start to the album and a worthy addition to the band's catalogue. It's a shame the rest of the album rarely scales these same heights.

The next few tracks are a mixed bag of distorted noise and wavering melodies. "The Only Thing" is decent, if somewhat forgettable. "The Ambassador" gives the record some much-needed breathing room and has traces of previous ballads like "Lord, I'm Discouraged", yet doesn't do much to really distinguish itself in spite of this promise. The soft piano is a nice touch and it's an element that would have been well-served by being included more frequently on the album. "On with the Business" also fails to really stand out, a mediocre rock tune that unfortunately feels too much like a throwaway tune. "Big Cig" steers things back on course.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Been a long time fan of The Hold Steady and was really looking forward to this record. I wasn't too impressed with first single "I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You" and not thrilled about "Spinners". By the third track "The Only Thing", I had found the Hold Steady I know and love. One thing was nagging me though,the SOUND. I'm reminded of a remark that was made many years ago about an old J. Geils Band live album. I think it was "Showtime." It applies here. The drums sound like he's beating on cardboard boxes. Also, on what I believe to be Craig Finn's most beautiful song ever,there is his voice WAY OFF in the distance when I think the song would have been even more powerful had his great vocal performance been a lot CLOSER TO THE EAR. I'm talking about "Almost Everything". I still enjoyed this album very much but for some reason I kept thinking about mud.
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