The departure of keyboardist Franz Nicolay has left welcome spaces in The Hold Steady's sound on Heaven Is Whenever. The underlying theme is about making the most of one's situation, and learning to live with disappointment: the way that, for instance, 'Rock Problems' can lead to "just what we wanted", and guilty secrets hasten maturity in 'The Weekenders'. Hence the reflective manner: 'The Sweet Part of the City' is a slide-guitar blues memoir of bohemian life, and 'We Can Get Together' employs an old Hüsker Dü song as a romantic touchstone; while the album's overall attitude is best summed up in the line, "We're good guys, but we can't be good our whole lives".

Download: 'The Sweet Part of the City', 'We Can Get Together', A Slight Discomfort'

The Hold Steady
Heaven Is Whenever
(Rough Trade)