Nickel Eye: The Time of the Assassins

Solo sojourns are sometimes iffy propositions, the product of second-string musicians either eager for attention or frustrated because their creative efforts are stymied or put to limited use. Whether or not the Strokes’ Nickolai Fraiture relates to these sentiments is anyone’s guess, but by veering away from his day job and adapting the nom de plume Nickel Eye, he shows his interest in seizing the spotlight. Truth be told, The Time of the Assassins is mostly a one-dimensional proposition, dominated by sturdy techno-type rhythms – not surprising, since he’s a bassist – and droning vocals that sound like he’s phoning it in from the other side of the street. Even so, Fraiture achieves some intriguing results, shuffling between a stroll and a strut on “This Is the End” in a most unassuming sort of way, spouting defiance on “Back from Exile,” and opting for an uncharacteristically upturned approach on “Another Sunny Afternoon,” a sequel of sorts to “Sunny Afternoon” which affirms his affection for the Kinks. Homage is also offered Leonard Cohen via a redo of Cohen’s barbed ballad “Hey That’s No Way to Say Goodbye,” Faiture’s monotone singing bequeathing the song with an icy indifference that causes its original author to sound positively giddy by comparison. (Ryko)

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