Full of sly attitude and Faces/Black Crowes nods, Indianapolis rock singer/songwriter Jeremiah Cosner's four-song Hold Steady EP gets grinding with a slide guitar and cracking drum on the opening track "Lipstick and Cigarettes". The sneer and drawl of lyrics like "she knows what it takes to get this party rocking" give the tune - and the album - a certain Stonesy accessibilty . The production allows space in the mix for the rock to breath. Musically clean without being too shiny, the sound is not unlike the mid-80's LA rock of David & David ("Welcome to the Boomtown"); pop/rock for 2011 channeled through 1989.
"Moneymaker" is a bit of blooz with a piano, crunchy power chords, a wank-ish guitar solo and some strong acoustic guitar underpinning. It is reminiscent of post-Baby's John Waite, circa "Change". And that's good John Waite, if you need to know.
"Spinning Away" mines the same sonic openness, again with an acoustic piano and Hammond B3 blend to introduce it. As with the other songs, Cosner has the talent to write memorable lines - like "Spinning Away's" seemingly simple "chemicals that make us collide".
"Coney Island" is a strong closer, taking a snapping bass groove into lyrics like "San Francisco turned into disco / Turned myself around and came on home" that help the song resonate after it's finished playing.
The album is an intriguing package to introduce Cosner, who graduated from Indiana University's School of Music in 2007. The project makes you think he could do some fun damage with a full-length album of songs; it's the stuff that WTTS should love. His swagger seems in place, as is the understanding of how to take musical influences and meld them into your own rock and roll sound.
"Lipstick and Cigarettes"