Nickel Eye, ‘The Time of the Assassins’ (Rykodisc)
Part of what made the Strokes so exciting was the flair they brought to the old trick of sounding hot while looking cool. On his solo debut, bassist Nikolai Fraiture never manages either. Assassins’ acoustic laments exude all the urgency of a model pushing lettuce around her plate. Though the whimsical harmonica of “Fountain Avenue” and the gentle fingerpicking of “Providence, R.I.” combine with Fraiture’s stolid vocals to evoke an attractive ennui, the flat cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” typifies the album’s uninspired lethargy.
Listen: Nickel Eye, “Providence, RI”