Franz Nicolay – Do The Struggle

  • Danielle Garcia posted
  • Reviews

Franz Nicolay

Do The Struggle - Sabot Productions

One of punk’s most famous multi-instrumentalists, Franzy Nicolay, brings us an multi-genre solo album in this year’s Do the Struggle. Though this album does transcend genres, the entire production is by far more consistent here than in any of his previous solo works. The album’s electronic and ambient sound is an interesting shift from Nicolay’s other gritty folk releases. This new sound is most apparent in songs like Joy, which is almost reminiscent of an Alex Clare song, and the title track Do the Struggle. Just as jarring as Nicolay’s songs themselves, the album features short instrumental clips every other track, carrying this melodic and haunting tone throughout the entirety of the album.

The introduction of more electronic-laden tracks does not leave us without the folk-heavy songs we have learned to expect from Franz Nicolay, however. Songs like Live Free, Take No Prisoners (ft. Emily Brodsky), and Migration of the Cuckoo are banjo and slide-guitar soaked, with just enough production value to fit with the rest of the album.

The biggest returning factor of this album though, like any other Franz Nicolay release, is his affinity for great storytelling and lyricism. “Betty Botter bought a bottle of bitters from the bar/ Major Matt, he mixed his mild martinis in a jar.” , the opening lines from Hearts of Boston, my favorite track, offers interesting alliteration and the beginning of an unbroken rhyme scheme that continues throughout the song.Did Your Broken Heart Make You Who You Are? Appropriately tells a heart-breaking story of the struggles of past relationships affecting current relationships, as Nicolay sings, “You are capable of anything, aren’t you?/ You learned it from someone/ Someone learned it from you”. Each song on the album delivers thought-provoking lyrics more enjoyable than the last.

As a fan of Franz Nicolay, Do the Struggle did take some getting used to. However, after multiple listens, Nicolay’s overwhelmingly heartfelt lyrics and addicting hooks make this album worth a purchase, and will fit well in any folk-lover’s collection willing to give Nicolay’s experimentation a chance.