Craig Finn returns after a 2 year gap between his last solo venture and a scatter of a couple of new Hold Steady releases trickled out over the passing year. Finns new outing joyfully entitled “I Need A New War” comes as no surprise. In a world full of political hap hazards and an increasing chasm between those who feel nothing but discontent towards modern times and those whose who are by way of birth cushioned by life’s harsher winds.
The album itself clocks in at 44 minutes, giving Finn plenty of time to do what he does best, poetically paint pictures of hope, discontent, laughter and modern day scepticism in a neatly trimmed package that contains no filler or waste.
The album kicks off with his first single “Blankets”. The track starts off with a jangly guitar riff that wouldn’t sound a miss in a 60s pop band. The tempo is noticeably slow paced and laid back, but flows with a swagger that fits Finns descriptive lyrics of love, city life and despair really well. The sort of track that one might listen to whilst reminiscing or simply questioning ones path in life, something that Finn never fails to deliver.
“Magic Marker” finds its foundation amongst a simple 60s Doors sounding piano hook, giving Finn plenty of space to air his lyrics on political turmoil and a confusing era of despair.
“Indications” finds its basis on a pulsating drum beat, piano chords and gentle guitar swells that almost sounds like it was composed by art rock contemporaries ‘The National’.
“Grant At Calena” echoes the spirit of Tom Waits, the stripped back plucked guitar and almost jazz infused slow drum strikes almost seem like a nod towards the late 60s and early 70s pop melancholia.
The second single to be released on Youtube “Something To Hope For” is a more upbeat affair that see’s Finn accompanied by a female singer, adding an uplifting ying to his sombre and sceptical yang. The instrumentation itself is backed up by a brass section, demonstrating just how much space Finns compositions have for other forms of instrumentation and styles to breathe.
As the albums progresses it becomes clear that despite Finn now being amongst the older generation of art rock indie, his contemporary third person narrative driven lyrics still hit home just as hard in an era of turmoil, the down trodden and social distrust. An album that can be enjoyed from start to finish by the everyday man on the street and not those looking down upon the Ivory Towers.
“I Need A New War” is available now on Partisan Records.