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Customer Review

on 21 January 2013
Let the People Speak is the second Grand Duchy album, though it sounds very unlike the first one, Petit Fours. I thought that was one of the best things Black Francis had ever done (and he's my paramount contemporary rock music hero, and has been since Doolittle); this one is very nearly as good. But Pixies nostalgics should stop right there: this is not a Black album. Neither should it be. It's part of a torrent of music that continues to pour out of him, including live albums, collaborations and true solo sets.
People is in fact dominated by his wife, Violet Clark, a real talent in her own right: multi-instrumentalist, singer (sounds a bit like Kim Deal, Pixie-freaks!) and writer. While Petit Fours had a distinct 80s/Euro feel about it, this one is punchier, bassier, and longer. Highlights here are many: the ones I look forward to most are Illiterate lovers (with its earworm lead bass riff), Geode, Dark sparkles, and three lead-sung by Black, John Frum, Silver boys and the title track. Sure, it has some lowlights too, but even Sgt Pepper had them - I could really do without the irritating faux-DJ bits at the end of each track; amusing the first time, maddening forever after. QoTSA did this too, to similar effect.
David Bowie called Black one of America's greatest songwriters, and you'd have to be tin-eared to disagree. He's kept it up for 25 years, and very few manage that. Treasure him, and thank Violet as you do.
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