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Sunday, August 28th, 2005

Sunday Cleaning – Volume 5

Frank Black / Honeycomb (Back Porch)

Frank Black is one canny fellow. By giving in to demands for a Pixies reunion last year, he a) guaranteed some serious income, b) raised his media profile exponentially and c) got the creative license to break away from his former band’s sound completely. Anyone who wants to accuse him of living off past glories would do well to give Honeycomb a listen first, as it’s light years away from anything he’d have ever done with the Pixies.

With it, Black makes good on his promise to make a country-soul album manned by Nashville session players and he pulls it off pretty damn successfully. Favouring a low-key, almost conversational singing style, Honeycomb is Black’s Dylan album – not that anyone ever would have thought he’d have a Dylan album in him. The tone of the record has echoes of Nashville Skyline and Blood On The Tracks (particularly “Strange Goodbye”, a duet with Black’s soon-to-be ex-wife), and Black himself had joked about calling the record Black On Blonde in tribute to Dylan.

So anyone who wants to hear Black as a creatively vibrant artist would do well to investigate his solo albums like Honeycomb. And anyone who wants to hear “Planet Of Sound” again, go buy a concert ticket.

Soft

I got an email from one of the guys in Soft last October… so yeah, this is potentially how long it could take me to get around to writing stuff up. You’ve been warned. Anyway, there’s not much I can say about these guys because I actually have almost no information about them – nothing in the email, precious little on the website. I remember initially being a little dismissive of them based on the sort of Billsberg chic photo gracing the top of their webpage but am glad I took the time to actually listen to their music. They could be just as easily be from Brooklyn or London, with a distinctively early 90s British sound that’s got too much swagger to be shoegaze but too much texture for Britpop. They’ve also got a more upbeat, joyous sound that’s a refreshing change from the dourness of many of their fellows (think New Order at the Hacienda rather than Joy Division at Rafters) and they contemporize their influences so as not to sound too retro, not unlike Ambulance LTD. There don’t appear to be any albums yet, just singles. I definitely like what I hear – just wish I could find out ANYTHING else about them. I suppose I could ask, but that’s, like, work.

Only a couple of reviews this week. Time has been at a wee bit of a premium, y’understand. Hopefully back to a troika next week.

np – Slowdive / I Am The Elephant, You R The Mouse Original Soundtrack

By : Frank Yang at 9:39 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. david says:

    I like the FB album, too, I think it’s his best work since the first two solo albums (which I revere).

    Speaking of troika, I caught one night of the Troika Festival in Durham, to see John Darnielle play a solo show, but he caught a cold and couldn’t perform. My musical disappointment of the year, so far.