I’m only familiar with Nicolay’s work (The Hold Steady, World/Inferno Friendship Society, Guignol) in name, but this solo album is more rockin’ than I expected. It skips freely between half a dozen genres without settling in any one for even a single song—and really, would you expect any less from such a man? From punk to folk to cabaret to jazz, the changes are quick and unapologetic. The album becomes occasionally theatrical (“Dead Sailors”), but other tracks (such as “Jeff Penalty”) are fun, one-off rock songs that don’t feel as if they’ve been ripped from some epic, twisted musical. Features Nicolay’s World/Inferno cohorts Brian Viglione and Peter Hess.
–Sarah Shay (Fistolo)