Clear Heart Full Eyes
On his first solo album, Craig Finn leaves behind the Midwest indie bar rock he makes with the Hold Steady and wraps himself up in Austin’s rich music scene. But like that Texas mecca, Clear Heart Full Eyes never quite settles into a singular groove. Instead, it flutters around several styles – indie, twang, and classic rock, among them – as Finn experiments with some new noises and sounds. It doesn’t always work. The last couple of Hold Steady albums were musically denser and more lyrically structured than the records that catapulted the band to indie-rock hero status in the mid-’00s. Finn follows a similar path here, replacing big hooks and tongue-twisting narratives with moody explorations in long-form storytelling (“Apollo Bay”), slinky riff rock (“Honolulu Blues”), and slow-burning blues (“Rented Room”). Where’s Catholic guilt when you need it?