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Frank Black 

Frank Black Francis

Wednesday, Nov 3 2004
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Frank Black may be the godfather of quirk rock, but everyone would agree that much of the luster has been lacking since the Pixies originally disbanded, which is why Frank Black Francis comes as such a pleasant surprise. The record consists of two discs, the first of which contains cassette Walkman recordings of early Pixies songs, with only Black on an acoustic guitar. The demos charmingly paint the rock troubadour as a youthful oddball; amidst the persistent hiss and the doorbells heard in the background, Black announces which songs he wants produced like Hüsker Dü and which parts "the bass player" will sing during the "real" recording sessions. The second disc, however, is the more fascinating of the two, containing revisionist readings of Pixies material recorded with a variety of acoustic instruments, standup bass, horns, and electronic noises. As anyone who's recently seen the reunited Pixies can attest, Black can't hit the notes as well as he used to, but that hardly means he's washed up. Frank Black Francis proves once again that Pixies songs are so strong they withstand any arrangement and any recording medium

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Abigail Clouseau

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