A.V. Club Most Read

News Newswire Great Job, Internet!
TV Club All Reviews What's On Tonight
Video All Video A.V. Undercover A.V. Undercover: The Day Of The Dead The Hi-Lo Food Show
Reviews All Reviews Film TV Music Books
Features All Features Newswire What Are You Watching?
Sections Film Tv Music Food Comedy Books Games Aux
Our Company About Us Contact Advertise Privacy Policy Careers RSS
Onion Inc. Sites The Onion The A.V. Club ClickHole Onion Studios

Franz Nicolay: Major General

 

B-

Franz Nicolay

Album: Major General
Label: Fistolo

Community Grade

  • A
  • A-
  • B+
  • B
  • B-
  • C+
  • C
  • C-
  • D+
  • D
  • D-
  • F
?

Your Grade

?

Mustachioed Hold Steady keyboard player Franz Nicolay had a thriving music career both as a solo artist and a sideman before he signed on to serve Craig Finn and Tad Kubler's vision of party-ready pulp-rock. On his solo album Major General, Nicolay showcases that versatility, moving from rousing piano ballads to tinkly cabaret to meat-and-potatoes rock 'n' roll, all delivered in a hyper-dramatic voice that sounds gripping at times and embarrassingly over-the-top at others. For the most part, Major General comes off like a respectable sampler of regional singer-songwriter music. These are the kind of songs that would've been beloved by the regulars at a rocker bar in some mid-sized American city, circa 1986, though Nicolay not the kind of artist born to break wide. Still, Major General does contain one shining moment: the album-opener, "Jeff Penalty," a stomping, moving apology to The Dead Kennedys' post-Jello Biafra lead singer. "The punks all still sang along," Nicolay admits, by way of paying tribute to workmanlike rockers everywhere.