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This review is from: Bluefinger (Audio CD)
First off I admit I am a massive Frank Black/Black Francis/Pixies/Charles Kitteridge Thompson IV fan and unlike the lazy reviewers that always describe his new release as his "best in years" I have liked pretty much every solo record he has released barring "Honeycomb", although I admit I prefer his more rocky albums and those where he goes off on different tangents such as his debut solo record and "Pistolero" rather than his folf/country/blues work-out albums.
That said, this is absolutely the best thing that he has put his name to since the heyday of the Pixies. Gone are the endless slide guitar fills and in their stead are such long-forgotten qualities as energy and fire in the belly.
Inspired by the life and works of the late Dutch artist/musician Herman Brood, Mr. Black has been completely revitalised. You know as soon as you hear the opening riff to "Captain Pasty" that we are no longer mentally in Nashville as with recent albums. The opening track rocks and it rocks hard, leaving you in no doubt that the change in name back to Black Francis is very apt as this is more in line with the Pixies' body of work than recent records have been.
Second track "Threshold Apprehension" could withstand comparison to the highlights of his career to date. Built on a simple but effective guitar riff and a mighty couple of vocal hooks, it has great lyrics which feature scenes from the life of the late Mr. Brood and a title borrowed from one of his paintings. It also features the return of the unique shouting/screaming vocal style that graced Pixies albums but was conspicous by its absence from his solo work prior to now, this coupled with some nice female backing vocals is a welcome return to former glories.
As for the rest of the record, the highlights are the beautiful vocal harmonies in the coda to "Angels Come To Comfort You", the band rocking out in a barely held together fashion on a cover of Brood's own "You Can't Break A Heart And Have It" and the acoustic pop of "She Took All The Money".
All in all superb. A great album which serves to generate interest in the man that Black Francis is eulogising as well. Worth the price for "Threshold Apprehension" alone, but there is much else to enjoy here. This is one of those albums that I have had for a couple of months now but am still unable to stop playing at every available opportunity.