Craig Finn – Clear Heart Full Eyes
Combining the beefy riffs of Tad Kubler, (erstwhile member) Franz Nicolay’s organ whirs and one-man sideshows and the pissed-up paeans of Craig Finn, The Hold Steady were one of North America’s most importable exports last decade.
On his debut solo outing, Craig Finn shows that he possesses the song-smithery to thrive, even when stripped of the elements that had become almost indigenous to his art. The guitar-heavy days of Boys and Girls... feel like a distant memory while listening to Clear Heart Full Eyes, but Finn’s sharpness of tongue remains, on what’s an entertaining, if more contemplative complement to his main body of work.
As ever, Finn takes his muse from the timeworn fields of love and loss, parties and hangovers, religion and sin, each handled with the swagger and precocity we’ve come to expect. No Future, a spurious breakup retort, threatens to steal the show, but Clear Heart... is absorbing from start to finish.