Separation Sunday - The Hold Steady
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 22
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 22
  3. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. It's a triumph of non-judgmental storytelling, delivered within purgative rock'n'roll.
  2. 100
    "Separation Sunday" is not only these Brooklyn transplants' best work to date (far surpassing the critically mis-hyped debut from last year), it is one of the grittiest, realest New York rock albums to come out since the Trouser Press folded.
  3. 100
    Separation Sunday stands a chance of being one of 2005's true classics.
  4. This literature with power chords addresses not only the crucial matter of vanishing bohemias as cultural myth but also the crucial matter of re-emerging spiritualities as cultural fact.
  5. Finn's masterful lyrics can't be ignored. And the music, stopping, starting and crashing with wrenching enthusiasm, is equally undeniable. But the way Finn understands the human condition in all its glory and contradiction is, simply, brilliant.
  6. It is Finn's particular gift to be able to set the listener smack in the middle of his songs, seeing what he sees, caring about the lives he chronicles. It is the listener's reward to find these stories scored by big, fat monster hooks, and effortless piano-driven melodies.
  7. This isn’t just Almost Killed Me 2, it’s an exploration of what lies beyond that initial surface – and the truth ain’t pretty.
  8. This stuff would sound great behind just about any garage-rock hack, but it turns Finn's dirtbag chronicles into something epic and huge and molten and beautiful.
  9. Bar rock for the smart set. [3 Jun 2005, p.82]
  10. 80
    Sounds like the best bar band in the world. [May 2005, p.122]
  11. The group sounds a bit like Guided By Voices at times, only a Guided By Voices that want to kick your sorry can up and down the length of the bar.
  12. 80
    Separation Sunday is a book-on-tape, a grim and funny tome that draws from the Bible and Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. [#68, p.98]
  13. While far from perfect, The Hold Steady's sloppy take on classic rock is actually quite refreshing and much more fun than most current indie rock and British post-punk revival wankery.
  14. The Hold Steady is the ideal iPod band. Finn's abrasive voice sounds legitimately exciting in four-minute bursts, and his best put-down lines are more corrosive.
  15. While [Finn's] odd and humorous rants are essentially compelling, they wouldn't be half as engrossing if his backing group... didn't smack up such a glorious din, scabrous punk rock swagger dolled up with classic hard rock power chords.
  16. These are songs full of offhand aphorisms, and they can grab you from the first line. [23 May 2005]
  17. The music is like some unholy amalgamation of Born to Run-era Springsteen and Billy Joel shazam. This is a good thing.
  18. Separation Sunday isn’t quite on par with Almost Killed Me, primarily because it won’t stun listeners with its freshness.
  19. Finn is a decidedly great lead non-singer, and because of this, he has to rely on brainy, culture-referencing wordage as opposed to impressive melodic style or range. Fortunately, his banter rarely disappoints, even if it is a little repetitive at times.
  20. His wordy narratives get hazy at times, but Sunday succeeds as a whirlwind tour through an overstuffed brain.
  21. Separation Sunday won't win over the masses, but that's not what its intentions should be. The Hold Steady's record is a testament to what good times are really like, if you're paying close attention. That, and it will make you air-guitar. For certain.
  22. Take Finn’s vocals out of the equation and you have a fun and even innovative garage band steeped in the brand of classic rock to which indie has never properly paid its due. With Finn, they’re monotonous, even annoying.
User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 38 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 21
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 21
  3. Negative: 2 out of 21
  1. ThomasD
    Feb 20, 2007
    10
    When approaching the Hold Stead (and any band for that matter), thinking in genres won't help you at all. This album is like nothing I have ever heard. Finn's sincerity is refreshing and sharp. His unironic but unpreaching approach to spirituality is very refreshing. Musically, the band is amazing. Personally, this album has had more impact on me than any before it, and I hope other people see the same amazing piece of magic in it that I do. Full Review »
  2. MilesW
    Oct 3, 2006
    3
    I don't get it. What is it supposed to be? They are like a Pop hardcore (whatever!) band, but with cheesy metal guitars. As for the lyrics; are they a god squad band? Straight edge? or are they a party band? Is he being ironic? I can't tell. It's just bad pub-rock, and that can never be good. I can't imagine anyone who likes punk or hardcore, or even metal for that matter, liking this band. Perhaps it's for pop fans who think they are getting into hardcore. Full Review »
  3. ChaseH
    Aug 19, 2006
    10
    A fantastically unique epic.