- SPIN Rating:4 of 10
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)