Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Frank Black (1993)

I seem to recall this being generally hated in the music press when it came out, something about it being nothing new, Pixies without the inspiration or somesuch. Nevertheless my girlfriend of the time bought it and played the thing until you could have used it to wrap sandwiches. Consequently I was afforded ample opportunity to become familiar with every last click and ping, and thus has it become well and truly ground into my consciousness.

I suppose there's an argument to be had in wondering why the big fat coward chickened out of that euphonium driven rap album we'd all been waiting for, but it's not a very good argument; and if you love the Pixies - as indeed I do - then there was never a good reason why this shouldn't deliver the same sort of kick, but with knobs on. I suppose it's arguably a smoother record, lacking the occasional squall of feedback or pounding kick drum, but otherwise it relates to the Pixies like those tiny concentrated cups of weapons grade coffee you get anywhere south of the Rio Grande when asking for the wrong thing - the same but moreso and somehow actually even a little bit fucking weirder. It's not just the songs about flying saucers or fixating on subjects so folksy that they come out the other side. It's how much more intense is the contrast of subject with the faint suggestion that Frank only ever really wanted to be in one of those bands named after a state - Boston, Kansas, Alabama, and I'm sure there are others. Somehow the interference pattern formed by these two seemingly disparate strands sounds like the Pixies fuelled by the same honking overdrive which powered early Roxy Music. At the risk of seeming contentious, I suspect you've probably got something wrong with you if you don't like this record. It really is one of the best.

This man is a fucking genius.

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