Sean Howe
September 29, 2006 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Boys and Girls in America

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
Producers
Vagrant
genre
Rock

We gave it an A-

Three minutes into the Hold Steady’s third record, singer-shouter Craig Finn has cataloged all his daunting topical tropes — dead poets, Christianity, promiscuity, substance abuse, the Twin Cities — over a background of soaring heartland rock. But Boys and Girls in America isn’t just noir karaoke and E Street shuffle: ”First Night,” delicately adorned with steel guitars, achieves an NPR-ready Americana, and, on several tracks, the swirls of organ they’ve added to their hyperliterate stomping suggest Deep Purple with a library card.

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