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Music Review: 'Faith In The Future,' Craig Finn


Craig Finn is part of a quickly growing demographic group - aging indie rockers. He led the band Lifter Puller in the '90s and is still the front man of The Hold Steady. His breathless songs look at the indie rock scene with a romantic eye.


THE HOLD STEADY: (Singing) There's just these guys that I know. We go back pretty deep. And I hope this whole thing didn't frighten you. There were times that it terrified me. I know what they said. I don't know if it's true. I hope this whole thing didn't frighten you.

SHAPIRO: Now Craig Finn is offering a wider, more reflective view of the world on his second solo album. It's called "Faith In The Future." Tom Moon has our review.

TOM MOON, BYLINE: In indie rock, growing up can be a kind of career suicide. Of course, so can not growing up. It's rare to hear those who burned brightly in their 20s creating something entirely different but equally compelling later. On his new album, Craig Finn, now age 44 and six records into an acclaimed run with The Hold Steady, sounds like a man searching for his next act.


CRAIG FINN: (Singing) She's got medical reasons for all these prescriptions. I suppose that's enough explanation. I asked what she's up to. She just looked at the floor. She's done playing music. She's bored of the tunes. She don't go to shows anymore.

MOON: This album looks at what happens to carefree people when the world forces them to grow up whether they're ready or not. Craig Finn knows people like this. He's listened to them in diners after bar time. He sketches them in broad strokes. He might leave out details, but he picks up traces of emotional distress.


FINN: (Singing) Every time you take a lover, you trade one thing for another. We hadn't spoken in a year, and I'm not sure why she called. But the last thing she said to me before she hung up the phone was here he comes. Oh, God, I got to go.

MOON: Craig Finn's latest songs retain the breathless, everything-all-at-once narrative style that's a trademark of The Hold Steady. But there's less certainty and more doubt. His characters are not simply older. They're often disillusioned, shaken by events.


FINN: (Singing) All these tall tales and one tiny truth - I saw the towers go down from up on Newmyer's roof. Yeah, we were frightened. Yeah, we were drinking. It was all so confusing. Doubt Thomas went and talked to the cops. He said this sure seems like an inside job.

MOON: That song looks at a different growing-up moment - the collective soul-searching that followed 9/11 when even the most cynical hipsters found themselves reflecting on what really matters. Like other characters on Craig Finn's sly and at-times-wrenching new album, these people start out reckless and headstrong and wind up less sure of themselves, less sure of everything and, perhaps for the first time, in search of some faith in the future.


FINN: (Singing) No, I've never been crucified. I never suffered and died. I've never been shot, but I've been lied to a lot.

SHAPIRO: The new album from Craig Finn is called "Faith In The Future." Our critic is Tom Moon.


FINN: (Singing) There must be something you believe. Look at these mountains. Look at these trees. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tom Moon has been writing about pop, rock, jazz, blues, hip-hop and the music of the world since 1983.
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