By Graeme Wiggins
Craig Finn – I Need a New War
[ Partisan Records]
Both as singer for Minneapolis bar rock legends The Hold Steady and in his more recent solo material, Craig Finn makes music about bad decisions.
His characters smoke too many cigarettes while seeking redemption in the arms of their fellow drugged out lonely people while crashing on couches and scraping together money to get another drink and find a way to move their life forward. If you’ve ever been that dirt bag, seeking hope in the despair of burned out after-hours parties, Finn’s songs might be your anthems. If not, it can be a touch voyeuristic and grim, like the character in “Her With The Blues” that takes pictures of the grimy, authentic side of city life.
It all might be a little too much if the songs weren’t so good. Finn’s writing is in top form here. The way the idea of gratitude is played within “A Bathtub in the Kitchen” is nuanced and complex, while the vivid description of a veteran’s post-war life of the protagonist on “Magic Marker” is neither patronizing nor trite. Finn’s songs resist simple answers or solutions.Craig Finn