On the Hold Steady's sixth album, frontman Craig Finn is still finding new ways to chronicle the underside of dead-end partying (see the grueling opener, "I Hope the Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You"). The Brooklyn crew's punked-up bar-band rock is more streamlined now. But the addition of a second guitarist makes for a big sound that gives Finn more room for detail and nuance. "Almost Everything" offers this classic image: "The kid that went down isn't dead/He just can't find his phone." Get up, bro. You've got a life to waste.
From The Archives Issue 1206: April 10, 2014