The Hold Steady: Teeth Dreams (Washington Square) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019  

The Hold Steady

Teeth Dreams

Washington Square

Mar 25, 2014 Issue #49 - February/March 2014 - Portlandia Bookmark and Share


NPR once referred to The Hold Steady as "America's bar band." Insofar as bar bands owe a debt to Thin Lizzy, the description was apt, but beyond that, it did a disservice to Craig Finn's word-drunk lyrics and the band's Springsteen-by-way-of-ZZ-Top thump. It's easy to see why The Hold Steady might have chafed under the label.

Now, on their second album since keyboardist Franz Nicolay's departure (and first in four years), the band seems to be trying to figure out who they are apart from the "bar band" brand. Mostly gone is the '80s guitar god blues rock, and instead power pop à la The Replacements is the focus. Some of this works. "The Only Thing" and "I Hope This Thing Didn't Frighten You" both function as enjoyable anthems. "The Ambassador" is a ballad that owes more than a little to Springsteen, and closer "Oaks" is excellent, standing tall within the overall Hold Steady catalogue.

Other songs don't fare quite so well. "Wait a While" and "Runner's High" both go to the tried-and-true blues rock of Hold Steady past, but can't quite match the dizzy highs of older tracks. And "Spinners," especially in the chorus, seems vaguely reminiscent of '90s alt-radio.

Perhaps the biggest shift is Finn's lyrics. It's not that they're poorly written; it's that they're not front-and-center. The best Hold Steady songs have always relied on the interplay between Finn, who seemed to have too much to say for a single song, and guitarist Tad Kubler, who mostly wanted Finn to finish up so he could loose an epic solo. Teeth Dreams moves away from this, and it loses something in the process.

Teeth Dreams isn't a failure. But it's an album that doesn't play to its creators' strengthsit's not fair to expect America's bar band to keep churning out songs under the neon lights, but when they chronicled the lives of the young, the desperate, the religious, and the literate in America so well, it's hard to want them to replace that urgency with hooks they can't always hit. (www.theholdsteady.net)

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10



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Bobby Lee
September 12th 2018
6:38am

By the time the amalgam is placed in your tooth, the mercury has formed a compound with the other metals. It is no longer toxic. If you are getting an amalgam filling or having one removed, your dentist will use high-powered suction to remove any excess amalgam from your mouth. It is also more beneficial to the patient if the removable dentures wareham ma keeps the fillings cool, uses a high speed evacuator and a rubber dam, than filtering the dental office air. Again, not all the above procedures are absolutely necessary to safely remove amalgam fillings but the more of them your mercury dentist uses the better.

George Penn
October 3rd 2018
3:31am

After four good, some would even say fantastic records, the Hold Steady returned this year with Heaven Is Whenever, a too-sleek, cliche-mottled shrug of a record. From its opening line on, the band’s sixth album, dentist columbus Dreams, tries to position itself as a return to form. Finn swapped out the character-defining specifics for faceless generalities and an all-too-sweet sincerity that effectively transplanted his lived-in Minneapolis-St. Paul mythologies to Anyplace USA, which works great.

Dan Teller
November 22nd 2018
10:03am

Where the Hold Steady used to sound like the E Street Band playing Hüsker Dü, Teeth Dreams actually plays up guitarist Tad Kubler’s longstanding Thin Lizzy fixation. This time around, the band are also packing more firepower in the strings, in the form of third guitarist Steve Selvidge, who fills the gap left by the 2010 departure of keyboard player Franz Nicolay to pediatric dentist alexandria va; producer Nick Raskulinecz, meanwhile, a veteran of Foo Fighters jobs, is tasked with reclassifying the Hold Steady from indie rock to something more ear-pinning. As well as all the customary riffing and chiming, there’s now ample opportunity for Kubler and Selvidge to duel.