I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You
The Only Thing
On with the Business
Wait a While
Now that The Hold Steady sport three guitarists with the addition of Steve Selvidge, it’s pretty obvious which end of their sound the band are further pursuing. They’d indulged an E Street Band vibe with Franz Nicolay’s flashy keyboards, but with Nicolay’s continued absence, the band now focus on guitarist Tad Kubler’s love for AC/DC and Thin Lizzy. That’s not to say the band have gone for the complete ham-fist; they’re still conceptualists at heart, and “The Ambassadors” has its sound layered with guitar arpeggios, swirling organs, and subtler moves (courtesy, in part, of producer Nick Raskulinecz, who broke the "crossover" code for Foo Fighters). Singer/narrator Craig Finn (who may or may not have delegated his guitar duties) still sings of misguided kids in search of understanding, but Finn also sounds like a man who’s hit the wall and is all for instilling notions of restraint in his characters. “Conventional wisdom says we should probably cruise,” he says in “On with the Business.” But with so many guitars pushing him to the edge, it’s more likely that his people are going for broke.