Frank Black – Fast Man Raider Man

This is very annoying. Why do I not want to throw this CD out the window (in fact both of them as this is a whopping 27 track double)?

For his last album, Frank Black confounded expectation (not an unusual thing for him) by not releasing the new expected Pixies album but in actual fact released Honeycomb; an album he recorded in Nashville with a bunch of legendary Stax and country musicians. It was loudly applauded, and I never got round to buying the thing so can’t really comment (not that that’s ever stopped me).

It seems that he enjoyed the experience so much, he’s done the same kind of thing and co-opted in a bunch of folk that used to be in The Band and the like. And, what he comes up with is a sprawling mix of standards and self-penned new stuff done in a bar room stylee. As you would expect, quite a substantial chunk of it sounds like Neil Young (always a heavy influence). But, unfortunately, too much of it sounds like Van Morrison. Strangely, Van recently stuck out a notoriously awful country album – I bet he’s kicking himself listening to this thinking that’s what he wanted. But, it’s not what Black should be aiming for.

And, that seems to be the problem. It’s all just that little bit too grown up. I want my Frank Black records to be about surfing on space-ships, and sound like it too. Yes, there’s some brilliant peddle work from Rich Gilbert. And, yes, there is the most twisted and fun version of Dirty Old Town you are ever likely to hear. And – and, this is the relevant bit – despite knowing that it’s not great and a bit bland, I can’t stop playing it.

Damned annoying.

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Written by Tony Kiernan

25 July 2006 at 2:25 pm

Posted in Records

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