Franz Nicolay Luck and Courage

Franz Nicolay Luck and Courage
After a handful of solid, if uneven, solo outings, former World/Inferno Friendship Society and Hold Steady keyboardist Franz Nicolay has truly found his voice with Luck and Courage. A varied collection of smart, nuanced folk and pop songs, it runs the gamut from light minimalism ("Z is for Zachariah") and rollicking '70s pop ("Luck & Courage") to tightly wound, fully orchestrated gypsy punk ("Have Mercy"). Nicolay's unique voice shines throughout, his knack for inhabiting characters and spinning tiny, fascinating stories shining through the creative arrangements and clear production. The album's strongest moment comes in the form of the stark "This is Not a Pipe," a gentle folk song that spins René Magritte's famous painting into an earnest heartbreaker of marital decay. (Team Science)