Reviews \

Franz Nicolay, ‘Major General’ (Fistolo)

Josh Modell // January 7, 2009

Franz Nicolay has the best mustache in the Hold Steady, but his songwriting is in desperate need of similar creative twists. Stepping out solo, the energetic multi-instrumentalist — assisted by guests including Dresden Dolls’ Brian Viglione — does fine when he keeps things forceful: “Jeff Penalty” is a funny, specific rocker about watching the Dead Kennedys with other aging punks. But when Nicolay decelerates, his weaknesses (cheesy croon, misguided piano) emerge, resulting in over-earnest, loungey balladeering.

Listen: Franz Nicolay, “Jeff Penalty” (Live at WNRN)