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Former Pixie get his freak onBlack Francis - NonStopErotik
2 1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: May 21, 2010
Review by Tony BonyataAside from his groundbreaking and influential work with his former band Pixies in the late '80s and early '90s, Black Francis has unleashed a prolific output of solo material over the last two decades - not only under his current moniker, but also as Frank Black, as well as with his own backing band The Catholics from 1997 to 2003. Much of his solo work holds up remarkably well next to his work with the Pixies; most notably his first two solo efforts Frank Black (1993), Teenager of the Year (1994), The Catholics' Dog in the Sand (2001) and his own love letter to Nashville on his 2005 musical sea-change Honeycomb.
On his most recent full-length outing, NonStopErotik, Black touches on many of the styles he's either defined or dabbled in over the last couple of decades (post-punk, left-field alt-rock, sun-dappled pop and a shot of Americana), while also getting his freak on with decidedly more decadent and sexually-charged subject matter. Whether plowing through the rocking numbers "Six Legged Man" and "Corrina," both which pleasantly hearken back to his earliest solo efforts, wooing his love on the ribald ballad "When I Go Down On You," or conjuring up the dark, dank mysterious groove of The Doors on "Wild Son," there's little doubt that Black still possesses the magic and power of his youth. A scrappy and sinewy cover of The Flying Burrito Brothers' "Wheels" is even thrown into the mix for good measure. But at the same time, this effort is also peppered with filler like the weary acoustic track "Rabbits," "O My Tidy Sum" and, ironically, the flaccid balladry of the title track. Even on the fantastic opening track "Lake of Sin," complete with snaky rhythms and a snarling, taunting electric guitar, there's just something missing in the mix or arrangement to keep this number, and much of the rest of the record from soaring.
You'd think a rock album steeped in so much decadence would be more fun, but, other than a few shining moments, NonStopErotik ultimately falls short of what this remarkable artist is capable of.
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