April 18, 2010 from WFUV
When I heard the first few seconds of Heaven Is Whenever, I thought immediately that this is not going to be a typical record from The Hold Steady. The bluesy, breezy guitar lick that opens “The Sweet Part of the City” conjures up more thoughts of the South than the band’s New York City home or Twin Cities roots might indicate.
Following the departure of keyboardist Franz Nicolay, there was talk that the band might shake things up a bit. A bit, yes, but there’s plenty for longtime fans to love here. Tad Kubler’s tremendous guitar riffs still reside at the foreground of these well-written anthems. “You can’t tell people what they want to hear if you also want to tell the truth,” Craig Finn sings in “Soft in the Center.” Yep, that’s The Hold Steady.
At WFUV, we’ve been fans of the band for years now, and it’s great to be able to share our excitement about Heaven Is Whenever, available here for streaming in its entirety until its release on May 4. Take a listen and get ready to learn the songs you’ll be singing all summer.