I kind of dismissed the Hold Steady last year after a Myspace audition but a combination of circumstances led me to their new LP ‘Stay Positive’.
I guess my reservations aren’t entirely gone but on the whole ‘Stay Positive’ is a strikingly good no nonsense rock LP. Tad Kubler’s guitar is a large part of that, reminiscent at times of some of Bob Mould’s playing. Overall there’s a pleasing balance in the styles within the LP getting the balance right between the epic and the intimate.
The one reservation that nags away at me is the overuse of the piano. Used properly within rock’n’roll the piano can be perfect but it seems to me to add nothing whatsoever to the likes of ‘Constructive Summer’.
I too like the idea of the songs forming part of a narrative which spans their entire back catalogue but given that this is the first LP I’ve heard in its entirety the impact of this is minimal.
Here’s the epic closing track: