Ever since they first emerged near the beginning of the new century, The Hold Steady have never been ones to follow the trends or fashions of the times. While many other groups have come and gone chasing the cultural zeitgeist of the time, the Brooklyn-based outfit have looked to set themselves apart from the crowd, which is probably why they are still here today. So after a continuing string of fresh and exciting releases in recent years, they return with their eighth studio album 'Open Door Policy', a release that shows a more sombre but still invigorated collective.
The main focus of their sound over the years has been centralised around frontman Craig Finn's distinctive vocal delivery, and this new collection is no different. But while their previous offerings were filled with larger and more energetic fanfare, this new full-length almost feels like Finn's shining moment as he channels his inner Springsteen to deliver thought-provoking and world-building lyrics that really get under your skin. It perfectly suits the band's more stripped-back aesthetic as they look to place a spotlight on their storytelling over their production, giving it a far more intimate feel throughout.
It may not have the same glitz and glamour that we have heard from them in the past, but 'Open Door Policy' perfectly suits their more matured and textured aesthetic this time around. They may be past their explosive peak, but are certainly not hurtling down that other side of the bell curve anytime soon.