Rock musicians are facing an ever-growing dilemma: go completely under the radar, please the masses of 14-year-old girls out there or add a refreshing sound to the genre.
New York folk-rock band Nickel Eye seems to subscribe to none of these fates. Instrumentally, the band is capable of churning out great tunes. Vocalist/guitarist Nikolai Fraiture-- and bassist for the Strokes-- lays down a couple of interesting and catchy riffs that tread between country-rock territory, but his vocals are what inevitably prove to be the downfall of the album. Fraiture's monotone voice gets old really quick. The rhythm section, provided by U.K. band South, isn't anything unique, but gets the job done.
The lyrics are said to be inspired by a U.S. road trip Fraiture took at 19. The album presents fairly generic folk-influenced lines, although a couple are just downright laughable; the chorus of "Back from Exile" proclaims "Hello Motherfucker, I'm back from exile."
The album is not completely terrible though. Tracks like "This Is The End" and "Where The Cold Wind Blows" (featuring Regina Spektor on piano) actually make use of Fraiture's voice, proving that depressed singing can actually sound great if used in certain contexts.
Nickel Eye shows a lot of potential, but to be recognized in the music world, they must step up their game, or else they will be just another rock band.