Music stardom presents the ultimate fairy tale lifestyle; eternal youth, global travel, adoring crowds, recreational exoticism. At least, that’s the dream for a privileged few, as nearly everyone else experiences that promised land eventually turning into dust, domesticity and SUV’s,
The Hold Steady have always seemed however to be stuck somewhere between lifts to football practice and three days staying awake in hotel rooms, their cautionary tales recounted with affection but on Open Door Policy now also a sense of time starting to catch up with them. Here on Lanyards singer Craig Finn drawls in his cracked brogue about a small town emigre to the West Coast who finds less than they bargained for, the sober ending capped off with “The doctor said he only wants/To help me make some better decisions”.
To their detractors the Brooklynites have always strayed too close to the blue collar heft of Springsteen, but there’s something undeniably fulfilling about them when in full flow, however true that proximity is. With Heavy Covenant, opener The Feelers and the gritty rehab busting excess of Spices all classics of the sextet’s by now highly polished form, Open Door Policy gives ample evidence that their rock n’ roll lives aren’t ready to be swapped for a Florida condo and golf six days a week just yet.
You can read the full review here.