Hold Steady proves levity is the soul of grit

Killer parties almost killed Craig Finn.

The Hold Steady frontman once attested to as much in song.

But that was a decade ago.

On his band’s latest record, “Teeth Dreams,” one of the year’s best, Finn dispenses fatherly advice on “Wait A While,”

(“Collecting boyfriends isn’t such a healthy hobby / I’m sorry, but there’s other words than ‘yes,’ ” he tells a boy crazy young girl) and urges the heartbroken to hang in there and dance one’s troubles away on “Spinners.”

This isn’t to suggest that The Hold Steady have settled down any, or eased up on amps-to-11 barroom bluster and gritty character studies that saturates their early catalog.

It’s just that this hard-touring bunch has done a lot of living in the past 10 years, and these days, they just sound happy to be alive.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.