From the opening Dobro to the closing nature sounds, the Hold Steady’s fifth album Heaven is Whenever is full of mature serenity. Don’t freak out — America’s greatest bar band still rocks. But Craig Finn is singing now, not just spitting literate slam poetry, and Tad Kubler’s massive arena riffs command attention instead of giggling at their own audacity. If 2008’s Stay Positive was a haunted wastoid cautionary tale, Heaven is a survivor’s celebration of staying alive. A?
Heaven is Whenever