CD Review: Black Francis

Nonstoperotik (Cooking Vinyl)

If you're holding out hope that the Pixies will release another album between reunion gigs, it appears that ship has sailed. And every time they get ready to tour — they have a slate of summer gigs scheduled — Frank Black comes out with a solo record. This time, he's using his Pixies nom de plume, Black Francis, and working with frequent collaborator Eric Drew Feldman. While Nonstoperotik is billed as an album about sex — a topic Francis has mined on various Pixies tunes and solo material — the overt sexuality seems reduced to the title track and the self-explanatory "When I Go Down on You." While the former at least tries to hide its intentions behind a bed of Beatlesque keyboards, the latter is straight-forward and groan-worthy. It feels lazy, which is kind of how most of Francis' efforts have felt when measured against the Pixies' canon. (Francis' solo output has easily tripled his Pixies work.) Of course, there are plenty of charging rock numbers here — album-opening "Lake of Sin," the screamy "Dead Man's Curve" and a skuzzy cover of the Flying Burrito Brothers' "Wheels." Compared to other outings, this one is a bit keyboard heavy — "O My Tidy Sum" and "Rabbits" depend on them almost entirely. But their presence is welcome, since they give another by-the-numbers release from Francis some variety. — Jeremy Willets

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