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Craig Finn – Faith In The Future 

November 2, 2015

This post has been sitting in draft status for a couple of months now. Other releases have somehow leapfrogged it.  But I consistently come back to it the LP, so I owe it a post.  Now it is time to write my best of 2015 post, so I feel compelled to get it out of draft status.

Craig Finn takes a different approach from his day job with The Hold Steady on this album. But his voice is so distinctive it is hard for him to stray too far.

He lures us in by throwing a familiar pitch with the opener “Maggie I’ve Been Search For Our Son.”  On repeated listens this song has a lot more going on than the usual arena-bar anthems of The Hold Steady.  It has Lindsey Buckingham pop finesse.

Finn throws a change-up with the second cut “Roman Guitars.”  That song incorporates horns and vocals in a very anti-rock and almost dissonant way.  At first It did not really work for me, but on repeated listen I started to appreciate the Tom Waits beauty of it.

“Newmeyer’s Roof” is straight ahead rock, but in a different style than the arena-bar anthems of The Hold Steady.  A little more straight 80s Springsteen channeled through Arcade Fire. It is pretty deep lyrically as Finn recounts 9/11 and watching the Twin Towers fall from roof of a friend’s apartment and the years of recovering from witnessing that tragedy firsthand.

“Sarah, Calling From A Hotel” has a minimalist Bruce Springsteen Nebraska feel. It has a nice sense of despair about it.

“Going To A Show” has a wonderful sway to it.  Guitar and piano.  This would not be out-of-place on a Wilco album.  It includes the great lyric: “I try so hard not to talk to myself/But it is hard ’cause I’m always alone.”

“Sandra From Scranton” is a portrait of desperate adulthood: “She don’t go to go to shows anymore.”

If ever a character from the bible deserved a rock song is St. Peter.  “St. Peter Upside Down” flip-flops between the story of the crucifixion of St. Peter and a modern tale. The song has a great horn accent.

“Trapper Avenue” is a surreal tale that sounds like the bastard love child of Springsteen and Lou Reed.

“Christine” is the sound of longing. A nice portrait of unrequited love.

“I Was Doing Fine (Then A Few People Died)” might be the best song on the album.  A great arrangement with a foundation of horns and cool background vocals.  It is just short enough to be a tease.

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