Album: The Hold Steady, Heaven Is Whenever (Rough Trade)

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The Independent Culture

The sum of their parts: a rock band so in love with rock form that they're prepared to wear their loot on their sleeves.

If you were to take the first four songs on the album as a measure of those parts, you'd come away thinking that the Hold Steady are composed of the bits left behind in the tray by Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, the Replacements and Graham Parker & the Rumour. Yep, they're pretty good and they're heartfelt. But for all their raging guitars, they're exciting only some of the time.