Craig Finn loves filling his music with stories. So much so, you suspect that if the Hold Steady vocalist ever tried his hand at a minimalist techno album he’d still manage to cram the thing full of themes, characters and slowly unfolding plots. As it is, his third solo album, We All Want the Same Things, sticks to the earthy indie of the rest of his non-Hold Steady output, lacking some of his main band’s last-orders rumbustiousness but sharing the same spirit of blue-collar romanticism.
As ever, there are plenty of character studies – of lovers and barflies and drug dealers – but there’s also a sense of Finn mining his own past for narrative detail. The delicate Preludes taps into the alienation he felt returning home after college and finding that “things had progressed and got strange”, while the spoken-word centrepiece God in Chicago conveys the excitement and terror of moving to a new city. A deeply personal work from a master storyteller.