Album Review – The Hold Steady: Open Door Policy

The Hold Steady – Open Door Policy

A constant on the Brooklyn music scene since forming in 2003, The Hold Steady are back with a bang on their latest album Open Door Policy, or perhaps that should be back with a horn section and a swathe of their trademark punk-poetry lyrics set to a brooding rock undercurrent.

There is much to discover in this album and opening track The Feelers  wastes no time in making this apparent. Over simple keys, Craig Finn’s wistful narration begins, ‘It was an early morning meet-up at the mansion on the mountain, the master still had glitter on his face…’ The song continues through copious changes of pace and classic guitar breaks, almost veering into the realms of a country and western saloon bar tale, while the vocal remains firmly entrenched in the tradition of their New York predecessors, The Velvet Underground. It’s like a mini concept piece all in under 4 minutes and, if this is just track 1, you know you can prepare for a treat across the next 10 titles.

Head shots of the 6 band members from The Hold Steady

The addition of horns is most prevalent on recent single Family Farm, whilst the other album sampler Heavy Covenant boasts a toned down synth intro that takes things in a whole different direction. The entire collection brings a warm element of storytelling into play and highlights the diversity of the band’s abilities. Fans of Warmduscher with a side penchant for Lou Reed may well find that this is just what they’ve been looking out for (and if you’re not a fan of Warmduscher with an LR penchant then go ahead and make it happen).

Open Door Policy, produced by Josh Kaufman, is released this Friday 19th February 2021 on the band’s own Positive Jams label via Thirty Tigers, and is available to pre-order here.

Words by Siobhan
Photos via Prescription PR

17th February 2021