The Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams
Few bands will make it to their 6th album intact and yet this is where we find Brooklyn’s ‘Hold Steady’, with a record that appears to herald a transition from Indie clubs to muscular stadium rock.
‘Teeth Dreams’ is fist pumping blue collar Rock & Roll in the Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen tradition. Its opening track ‘I Hope This Whole Thing Doesn’t Frighten You’ appears as a statement of intent as to the direction of the album with its aggressive guitars, heavy drums and Iggy light vocals.
Sadly the first two songs appear to be something of a damp squib in the scheme of things, yet by ‘The Only Thing’ the band appears to have hit their stride with the two subsequent tracks delivering a more impressive performance. The aforementioned can be singled out for the strong backing vocals and its stomping drums; it has all the makings of a great festival anthem.
One of the stronger album cuts can be found in ‘On With The Business’ a genuinely exciting track that deserves a repeat listen. The rage here is palpable in a number that will function as a perfectly serviceable soundtrack to the disenfranchised youth. It’s lyrics “Blood on the carpet, Blood on the mattress, Waking up with that American sadness” resonate throughout all off ‘Teeth Dreams’, which operates as a reflection into that ‘American Sadness’.
Lyrically speaking, the record is richly crafted with a strong narrative throughout a great deal of the songs; ‘The Big Cig’ is merely one great example of this. Throughout we see an album that is populated by a diverse cast of ne’er-do-wells, which really allows it to feel like a living entity.
Perhaps this makes it all the more regrettable that the instrumentation seems so rooted in the vein of 1970’s classic rock, a number of tracks suffer from this failing with ‘The Big Cig’ even receiving a particularly indulgent guitar solo. Although the closing track turns the failings seen earlier into something greatly positive. ‘Oaks’ is a culmination of all that is enjoyable throughout ‘Teeth Dreams’ even managing to use the Thin Lizzy twin guitars to create a remarkable closer.
‘The Hold Steady’ have created a work that is at times impressive, but begs the question of whether there is really a place for these histrionic guitar acrobatics in modern music? This sixth album is a strong showing from the band, with a strong anthemic element yet it is unlikely to set the world on fire.
Stronger Tracks to listen out for “On With The Business”,“Oaks”.
By Connor Lundy
Listen to Teeth Dreams “On With The Business”,”The Big Cig”.