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3.5 to be accurate - welcome to the new Millennium,
This review is from: Dog In The Sand (Audio CD)
Frank & his compadres stare defiantly at you from the album sleeve, standing on the foundations of the buildings they have destroyed through an incendiary performance. Wishful thinking? Perhaps - but I approached this recording hoping that the buzz that it was a partial return to form would be true.
In truth imagining that Frank & the returning gunslinger Joey Santiago were ready for an elegiac departure a la "The Wild Bunch" as ageing men out of their time would be false. With this release he seems to sag less under the weight of his pistolero belt, and instead goes loaded for bear in aiming for good time R&R.
Ditching some of the impossible burden of matching primo-grade Pixies material has leant this album some extra joy which comes out through the simplicity of the 2 track live studio recording. Realising that this cannot match the memories & reality of what those early Pixies' records meant to you, allows a greater relationship to emerge with "Dog In The Sand". A title that echoes what this cd has allowed Frank to be - happy as a pig in the excrement mentioned in the 1st song. In truth my last live encounter with his former band summed up the Pixies' career - a blistering start (reaching its zenith with 'Doolittle'), then a critical break leading to collapse. With the final image of Kim Deal returning for a can of beer proving sadly apposite.
Lyrically his canvas is still wide & hinting at an extra depth - with the desert and outer & inner-space parallels (the oceans & their similarity to the far-off distances beyond this planet). The tale of the St Francis Dam Disaster is also brought to life - almost as a non-sentient companion to one of Nick Cave's murder ballads. Much of the jerky sound conj ours up past glories - but these are not paling as badly in comparison - rather reminding you of happy memories. He puts the question himself 'do we still want to listen?' - and the answer is 'Yes', more to this record that most of its predecessors. Frank Black is back and enjoying his music, and for what he did for music when I was growing up, that is the least that he deserves. Hey we can wait and erect the statues when he finally leaves the planet - by ufo or more conventional means.