‘To Us, The Beautiful!’ is the fourth instalment of Franz Nicolay‘s solo career. Filled with high energy songs as well as more melodic elements, the album doesn’t disappoint. He’s backed by Andrew Seward of Against Me!, and Ara Babajian from Leftover Crack who drive the songs with their own influence showing.
The album may be more approachable and ‘radio-friendly’, as they say, perhaps to the dismay of some fans, but much to the appreciation of others. This shift puts emphasis on the lyrical content that impresses from start-to-finish. Particular surprises are ‘The Pilot Inside’, which shows a more indie side to the artist, and ‘Bring Me A Mirror’, which slows the tempo with just acoustic guitar and his voice, and shows an altogether more sensitive and grown up side of Nicolay.
There’s still a satirical and sarcastic side to the lyrics that will make the listener smile. For example, in songs like ‘Your Body’, he sings “the only thing sadder than an old hippy is a young hippy”, so, although some songs showcase a more delicate side to the songwriter, he’s not become boring or middle of the road.
That being said, there are still plenty of upbeat and exciting songs. ‘Marfa Lights’ is a particular stand out offering, combining both the melodic and catchy side to Nicolay‘s music, with female vocals, harmonies and an undeniably feel-good vibe. It’s definitely one that gets stuck in your head.
‘To Us, The Beautiful!’ definitely works as a gateway into Franz Nicolay‘s music, showcasing the punk, indie and folky influences whilst still having an edge that makes a statement. The album is an overriding success, and a pleasure to listen to from beginning to end.
Written by Orla Conway