Review by Heather Bennett A.K.A. Hoverbee
Black Francis or Frank Black or whatever the man is choosing to call himself these days has unfortunately disappointed many a Pixies fan with some of his solo albums. Not since his 1994 solo release Teenager of the Year have fans spoken positively of his post-Pixies performance. To this, I say, “Okay Pixies fans, get ready to be satisfied.” In 2007, Sir Francis released the amazingly overlooked album BlueFinger and our ears rejoiced; “Threshold Apprehension” kicks you in the face and has Herr Black’s screeching falsetto as well as the Pixies-esque back-up vocals we all know and love. Other gems on this album worth checking out are “Tight Black Rubber” and “She Took All the Money.” In 2008, Black Francis released the album Svn Fngrs. Although shorter than BlueFinger, with just seven tracks (perhaps a reference to the title), Svn Fngrs has a few treasures of its own such as “Garbage Heap,” “The Seus,” and “Half Man.”
If this doesn’t quench your desire for a Pixies fix, you can always check out Non Stop Erotik, one of two albums he has released this year. Notable tracks: “Wheels” (originally a Flying Burrito Brothers early country rock ditty that Black has taken and turned into a completely different animal), “Corrina,” and “Wild Son.” If that doesn’t do the trick, you can always wait until this summer when he releases Abbabubba, a compilation of un-released B-sides and demos, to discover more tunes that may have that Pixies feel.
I don’t fully understand the fixation with ‘Pixies’ fans appetites to be continually whetted. It seems many Journalists need to compare all his output to that of the ‘Pixies’, and whether it be anywhere near as good. Black Francis does not need to sound anything like the ‘Pixies’ to be a good musician. This yearning to go back those to amazing days is all well and good, but he’s moved on. We should embrace his new material, and see it for what it is. It is mostly a departure from the ‘Pixie’ sound, nevertheless, he rarely fails to deliver.
‘Teenager of the Year’ is regularly referred to as his greatest post Pixies work. This is a good shout. However, some of his ‘Catholics’ material is just so good. ‘Show me your Tears’ and ‘Dog in the Sand’ have been largely overlooked. Black Francis music is multi – layered and needs patience. The guy writes incredibly well. All i’m saying is listen to his music and don’t go looking for ‘Pixie’ sounding songs. I buy his music and don’t even yearn for a Pixie throwback, I don’t need to. Black Francis is one the greatest performers of the last 25 years, and not just because of ‘the Pixies’.