The Hold Steady, Brooklyn’s finest purveyors of booze-n-sweat-fueled rock, are set to return this spring with their fifth album, ‘Heaven Is Whenever.’ Due May 4, the record is a reportedly a departure from the band’s prior records, in that the keyboards and piano are delegated to the background this time. The group is down to just a four-piece after the recently-announced departure of Franz Nicolay.
“I see it as being less anthemic and more complex,” singer Craig Finn said in a released statement. “The lyrics speak a lot about struggle and reward. It’s about embracing suffering and understanding its place in a joyful life. I think that some of the characters from old records are there, but I don’t name them by name. I think it continues to examine the highs and lows that we’ve looked at on previous records.”
Compared to previous recording sessions, it’s also said that ‘Heaven Is Whenever’ benefits from more spread-out sessions, with the band even making a makeshift studio in the back of their tour bus where they could test things out right as the mood was striking them.
‘Heaven Is Whenever’ stands at just 10 tracks, and sounds like it will have a variety of inspirations. Guitarist Tad Kubler said that he’s recently been influenced by Calexico as well as film composers such as Jon Brion and jazz trumpeter Terrence Blanchard. “I feel like the most interesting sounding records are made by using what you know and knowing how to use what you have,” Kubler said in the release. “It’s not just about capturing a performance. I like to hear the character of the recording come through in the songs themselves.”
With all this change this time around, we’re still holding on to the notion that rocking out is still an option. If May seems to far off, Finn and Kubler’s prior band Lifter Puller recently reissued their entire catalog, so there’s no shortage of material out there at the moment.
The Hold Steady kick off a spring tour on April 2 in Ardsley, New York. Here is the track list for ‘Heaven Is Whenever.’
1. ‘The Sweet Part of the City’
2. ‘Soft in the Center’
3. ‘The Weekenders’
4. ‘The Smidge’
5. ‘Rock Problems’
6. ‘We Can Get Together’
7. ‘Hurricane J’
8. ‘Barely Breathing’
9. ‘Our Whole Lives’
10. ‘A Slight Discomfort’