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Craig Finn - Clear Heart Full Eyes


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#1 Josh Hurst

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 02:45 PM

The Hold Steady singer is striking out on his own, apparently.

#2 Jason Panella

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 02:50 PM

Maybe I'll finally get to hear his guitar.

#3 Josh Hurst

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 11:14 AM

Update from Finn on his solo album and on the next Hold Steady album.

#4 Josh Hurst

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 02:54 PM

Clear Heart Full eyes is due January 24. Details here.

#5 Josh Hurst

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 08:07 AM

Had a chance to spin this yesterday. First impression: The songs here are very good, and Finn is more than capable of carrying this record as a "solo" artist. Thankfully, this is NOT a folk/Americana release, as I sort of feared it might be. There is some of that here, but also a lot of bar-band rock and some fairly overt Springsteen-isms. It is also the most Jesus-centric album he's been involved with since Separation Sunday.

That might all sound fairly unsurprising on paper, but what's fascinating is how this is such a different beast from any Hold Steady record, despite a lot of cosmetic similarities. I think it's a matter of the production. Even when the guitars are turned all the way up, they're held in check, resigned to the background, leaving the focus always on the voice, not on the riffs.

So... I guess it all sounds like a solo album from the guy who sings for The Hold Steady. Crazy, huh? But, in spite of that, the album still manages to be surprising, or at least less cookie-cutter than you might think.

#6 Thom Jurek (unregistered)

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 08:31 AM

Had a chance to spin this yesterday. First impression: The songs here are very good, and Finn is more than capable of carrying this record as a "solo" artist. Thankfully, this is NOT a folk/Americana release, as I sort of feared it might be. There is some of that here, but also a lot of bar-band rock and some fairly overt Springsteen-isms. It is also the most Jesus-centric album he's been involved with since Separation Sunday.

That might all sound fairly unsurprising on paper, but what's fascinating is how this is such a different beast from any Hold Steady record, despite a lot of cosmetic similarities. I think it's a matter of the production. Even when the guitars are turned all the way up, they're held in check, resigned to the background, leaving the focus always on the voice, not on the riffs.

So... I guess it all sounds like a solo album from the guy who sings for The Hold Steady. Crazy, huh? But, in spite of that, the album still manages to be surprising, or at least less cookie-cutter than you might think.


I'm not trying to be argumentative, Josh, but I played it over the weekend, and I found it to be boring beyond belief. The stuff about Jesus I found to be recycled mannerisms FROM Separation Sunday without any development in thought or emotion. Same conflict, different day. I'll spin it twice more--one of my more illustrious mentors at Creem once said that he could tell if a record was good in the first 30 seconds of the first track, but I think that was BS--and if it doesn't grab me by then, I'll be passing on the review. Contrary to what people might think, I'm, not remotely interested in panning records on the AMG site; too much work to write a constructive negative review, which is what we require--most of the time anyway. Besides, Finn's an easy target given Hold Steady's current popularity. I'd rather write feature reviews of records I actually like.

#7 Josh Hurst

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:46 AM

Hear it for yourself, if you're interested.

#8 Andy Whitman

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 01:38 PM

Whatever goodwill is built up over the course of a decent album is almost totally undone by the obnoxious stupidity of a song called "New Friend Jesus."

Edited by Andy Whitman, 24 January 2012 - 01:38 PM.


#9 Josh Hurst

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 02:22 PM

Whatever goodwill is built up over the course of a decent album is almost totally undone by the obnoxious stupidity of a song called "New Friend Jesus."


Agreed. That's the moment where you realize just how "schtick-y" Finn's Jesus fever/Catholic hang-up really is, and it taints the whole album, even though I think some of the other songs are pretty decent, taken on their own terms. "Terrified Eyes" and "Western Pier" are the standouts to me.

#10 Andy Whitman

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 04:42 PM


Whatever goodwill is built up over the course of a decent album is almost totally undone by the obnoxious stupidity of a song called "New Friend Jesus."


Agreed. That's the moment where you realize just how "schtick-y" Finn's Jesus fever/Catholic hang-up really is, and it taints the whole album, even though I think some of the other songs are pretty decent, taken on their own terms. "Terrified Eyes" and "Western Pier" are the standouts to me.

After spending a bit more time with this album, "New Friend Jesus" is the only song I dislike. I like this considerably more than the last Hold Steady album Heaven Is Whenever. It's the same desperation and biblical imagery, but it seems fresher this time, even as Finn moves on from youthful debauchery to middle-aged angst. And I like hearing Finn declaim behind a more nuanced band. The pedal steel is particularly nice. Nothing against HS guitarist Tad Kubler, and I hope Finn reunites with him for another power chord excursion that rattles the back of the bar, but I appreciate the musical changeup. That's what solo albums from bandleaders should do, and this one does it. This is recognizably Craig Finn, but it sounds different.

#11 Jason Panella

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 04:52 PM

After spending a bit more time with this album, "New Friend Jesus" is the only song I dislike. I like this considerably more than the last Hold Steady album Heaven Is Whenever. It's the same desperation and biblical imagery, but it seems fresher this time, even as Finn moves on from youthful debauchery to middle-aged angst. And I like hearing Finn declaim behind a more nuanced band. The pedal steel is particularly nice. Nothing against HS guitarist Tad Kubler, and I hope Finn reunites with him for another power chord excursion that rattles the back of the bar, but I appreciate the musical changeup. That's what solo albums from bandleaders should do, and this one does it. This is recognizably Craig Finn, but it sounds different.


From what I've heard of the album, you can actually hear Finn playing guitar.