Clear Heart Full Eyes


After five albums with Brooklyn indie rockers the Hold Steady, frontman Craig Finn has made his first foray into solo territory. While Clear Heart Full Eyes is a down-tempo, alt-country departure from Finn’s usual classic-rock oeuvre, this is no throwaway acoustic cop-out. In lieu of electric guitar we find pedal steel warbling to fill in the negative space. The album’s production sounds thin and almost minimalist compared to the stadium-friendly sounds of the Hold Steady, emphasizing a suitable dryness in his vocal delivery. Finn’s lyrics continue to impress, with heart-wrenching stories of unfortunate people between offhand references to Freddie Mercury and Joan Didion. Though religion is a recurring theme, even fans might be taken aback by the determined focus on Jesus. Clear Heart shows a sense of purpose that keep these songs as ever coming off as castoffs from Finn’s day job. –Amanda Farah

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