FRANZ NICOLAYHold Steady keyboardist's solo album
tears the curtain too far
Franz Nicolay's tenure as the Hold
Steady's keyboardist provides a large, pre-built audience for his
first solo album, Major General. However, dubbing the album a
Hold Steady side project ignores his overflowing work with many other
acts (World/Inferno Friendship Society, Anti-Social Music, Guignol,
among others). Unsurprisingly, the sonic mix of Major Generaltake on Bruce Springsteen.
Lyrically, Major Generallike the Mountain Goats best material. Elsewhere, Major General's
arrangements are ragged, or worse, distracting. "I want you to
understand why I do the things I do / cause up here in these hot
lights is just between us two," he sings in the final lines of
the poetic "Confessions Of An Ineffective Casanova." A
nice sentiment, but for a flotsam of guitar searching for a hook and
coming up empty, it's a chore to stick around until then.
Listen to Franz Nicolay on MySpace.