Boys and Girls in America Vagrant Music •••½Sound ••••
Wonder what a rock bar band sounds like in the early 21st century? The third album by the Hold Steady is a virtual master class in heartfelt, beer-infused noise. The template is familiar: lots of mega-guitar riffs overlaid with working-class attitude and Springsteenesque vocals. But don't expect anything like Bruce's street romanticism; these guys are too overeducated and far less innocent for that. The irony is that a song like "Massive Nights" is nonetheless as catchy as a Brill Building classic.