Black Francis: “Nonstoperotik”

Posted in Dancing about architecture on February 2nd, 2011 by bill

Charles Thompson has been making music under the name Black Francis, or its converse Frank Black, for 25 years now. Think about that one for a minute. I’ll wait.

How’d it go for you? Anyway, for the first 8 or 9 of those years he was a bona fide genius, writer and singer of many superlative songs in a style recognizably his own, first with the Pixies and then as Frank Black. After 1994’s magnum opus Teenager of the Year, though, he seemed to run out of steam. He disappointed us for the first time with The Cult of Ray, then started releasing a series of “live in the studio” albums with his backing band the Catholics; the first of these was quite good, the rest were pretty hit and miss. Still, he kept them coming, apparently thinking that sheer quantity ought to count for something. By the turn of the millennium I’d stopped buying his records, frustrated by the lack of quality control.

After playing with a reunited Pixies in 2004, he reclaimed his old stage name and seemed to find some measure of his old inspiration. 2007’s Bluefinger and 2008’s Svn Fngrs were, for my money, his best work since Teenager. So I was cautiously optimistic about Nonstoperotik, both despite and because of this spiel from Mr. Francis that preceded it:
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