Wednesday, September 12, 2007

BACK AS BLACK (Welcome Back Black Francis)


Today, a big welcome back to Black Francis (aka Frank Black). The endlessly cheeky auteur returns to his Pixies-era moniker, stating that "I couldn't get the Pixies back into a studio, but I would transform into my alter ego of yesteryear."

His new album (out as of Tuesday) is called Bluefinger, and is a tribute of sorts to the late Dutch artist Herman Brood. After only one listen I am impressed with the energy, wit and vitality of this album. Leave it to Frank to blatantly and unapologetically make a record that flaunts his passion for his own offbeat muse.

The opening track "Captain Pasty" is a slightly muted, though raucous number that immediately goes for the jugular. Playful lyrics also abound. On "Tight Black Rubber" he bellows "I'm all killer, no filler" and "Mary had a little lamb, the shit was pure as snow". Throw on some backing vocals from Kim Deal and this track would easily fit alongside many Pixies classics.

"Angels Come To Comfort You" is a jaunty number that chugs along as Francis sings about Brood's final days, referencing the hotel that Brood died in; "Now the Hilton hotel in Amsterdam/Good enough for John & Yoko man/Now you got the key to #902/Angels come to comfort you". The song ends with Ambulance sirens as the guitar slowly fades out.

The artist formerly known as Frank Black has had a prolific and varied post-Pixies output, and the increasingly slight odds of new material with his old band should not be cause for concern in light of what he is obviously capable of producing himself.

Needless to say, I am having a helluva lot of fun listening to this record so far. It was a much needed boost of hope today. One constant for me over the years is that records still have the power to make me giddy, excitable and believe in the transcendent power of art. I am not sure that a good rock record can save your soul, but it can certainly elevate it. Thanks Frank... er Francis, I mean Mr. Black.....


rev. rob revolting said...

I had the pleasure of seeing the Pixies a few years back when they did their reunion. It was an amazing trip down memory lane. I even bumped some people from my early 90's Pixie's days (as I just didn't get the chance to run).
I must admit, I ave not been a huge fan of much of what Frank has done post Pixie's but I am looking forward to getting my hands on this record. It might be my age, but there has been few records (there's my age again) that have blown me away since the mid 90's. I think every so often we encounter an era in music where rules change and new edges are cut and redefined. the Pixies, the Cure, the Smiths, Joy Division/New Order, Ministry, the Clash and Husker Du took the old music casts and destroyed them. The Pixies were in a league of their own. They were ultra-hip but not pretty (outside of maybe Joey and Dave). They made noise and beautiful melodies at the same time. They battled egos but still came across as something cohesive. They had commercial success but always seemed indie.
It is tough to be that cool all of the time and it should be interesting to see how this record is absorbed by old fans and new fans alike.

Anonymous said...

ergh I meant bumped into...not bumped!