Reviews Franz Nicolay To Us, the Beautiful

Franz Nicolay

To Us, the Beautiful

Franz Nicolay is often billed as an ex-member of The Hold Steady, an ex-member of The World/Inferno Friendship Society, or a former touring member of Against Me! He’s a working musician, and while his contributions to other bands are notable, they never showcased the full extent of Nicolay’s talents. Franz has been releasing solo-records since 2007. With his latest album, To Us, the Beautiful, Nicolay proves that as a song writer and front man, he can hang with the best of them.

The album takes its name from a traditional Ukrainian toast. Franz describes name the album like this:
“I heard someone say the toast ‘To Us the Beautiful…and to those who disagree may their eyes fall out’ and I thought, well, after that these songs basically write themselves.”

Whether or not the songs wrote themselves is questionable, but Franz does manage to blend multiple aspects of his former bands in a seamless manner. To Us, the Beautiful has anthemic sing-alongs, up-tempo pop tracks, and thoughtful slow jams. The highlight of the album, however, is Franz’s lyrics. While it’s easy to look at Craig Finn or Jack Terricloth for comparison, Nicolay is building something that feels uniquely his own. The songs have storytelling and poeticism. They have humor and they have heartbreak. They’re beaming with personality, and while not everything in instantly accessible, the songs are likeable enough that they bring you on for the ride.

For example: the albums track “Open with The Wrestlers” chronicles the story a story of lost love over the backdrop of a Mongolian folk party that features costumed fighters and underage Neo-Nazis. Another track “Everything is going According to Plan” features these lyrics: Only the first Tattoo Needs to mean something, after that you can get something dumb to fill the rest in. They’re the type of ideas that you either get or you don’t, but for those who understand, there is a lot to dig into.

7.5 / 10Graham Isador
KFAI - Roar of the Underground
Leave a comment

7.5 / 10

7.5 / 10

Share this content
Related features

One Question Interviews Franz Nicolay

Posted Sept. 11, 2014, 11:37 p.m.

Franz Nicolay SPB: What instrument is the hardest to tunefully amplify in a larger venue? Nicolay: It doesn't come up very often, but the ...

KFAI - Root Of All Evil
More by Franz Nicolay

Franz Nicolay

Do The Struggle

7.1 / 10 Franz Nicolay - Do The Struggle album cover

It must be stated that the quirkily moustachioed Franz Nicolay is an intriguing and rather singular gentleman. For those who saw him live during his time in either The Hold ...

Related news

Bands 1QI: Franz Nicolay, Dan Padilla, Where My Bones Rest Easy, Radon

Posted Sept. 15, 2014, 9:36 a.m.

One of our features here at Scene Point Blank is our semi-daily quickie Q&A: One Question Interviews. Follow us at facebook or twitter and we'll post one interview ...

Shows Treasure Fest 3 tickets on sale

Posted April 2, 2013, 8:29 p.m.

The third annual Treasure Fest in Charlotte, NC has opened ticket sales for the May 17-18 event. Over 70 bands are lined up for the festival, including Franz Nicolay, Museum ...

Bands New single from Franz Nicolay

Posted March 13, 2013, 6:38 p.m.

Franz Nicolay, currently touring Europe, will release a new single on April 15 for Xtra Mile Recordings. The single, titled Hearts of Boston, is the third off his Do the ...



Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.