Craig Finn – Clear Heart Full Eyes        9/10

THEY SAID The Hold Steady wouldn’t survive the departure of talented instrumentalist Franz Nicolay, and as suspected that was right: Craig Finn doesn’t need a band.

He’s the Graham Greene of pop, disarmingly mixing ‘entertainments’ with serious work. Both use storytelling and titillation to lure you to the precipice of a theological dark place and pause so you can make a choice.

He’s also Springsteen minus writing in the hamming opportunities, if you prefer that route: