Release Date: May 3, 2005
Record label: French Kiss
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Like the Hold Steady's most recent album, Boys and Girls in America, its prequel (only now gaining a UK release) deals with people chasing the illusory salvation offered by religion, drugs or rock'n'roll. Singer/narrator Craig Finn makes it clear in the very first line that the three characters at the centre of these songs will always let you down - "She said always remember never to trust me" - but his refusal to abandon them means the listener doesn't either. The songs drip the kind of imagery that leaves you always craving more: "I guess I heard about original sin/ I heard the dude blamed the chick/ I heard the chick blamed the snake/ I heard they were naked when they got busted.
The Hold Steady's Almost Killed Me is their hands-down masterpiece, at least this far in the career anyway. A swirling maelstrom of intense, hilarious, and breathtaking rock & roll, it should have been the album that knocked everything else into a cocked hat in 2004. Of course, it was mostly ignored outside the homes of a handful of indie snobs and adventurous punks, but it's there, it's amazing, and most likely the band will never be able to top it.