Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Pleasant Living in Planned Communities [Dive, 2014] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Pleasant Living in Planned Communities [Dive, 2014]
Retro is different when you sound like the Hold Steady and get compared to Harvey Danger--a considered formal choice rather than golden-age BS. Hank Henry doesn't swallow a word as he shouts his tuneful tales into the void, and unlike Craig Finn, he doesn't specialize in or even much notice the human dregs and heroes of the alt-rock scene. In part this may be because there's no scene for him to be on anymore, but mostly it's the concept of a guy who sounds like he was an English major back when you selected that course of study so you could read novels. Not only does the album feature three war songs in the war-movie sense, another medicates itself with a real smoke--Parliaments. Pretty literary--and so last century. A-