January 26, 2001

Test Spin: Frank Black & The Catholics

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On his third album with the Catholics, Frank Black (formerly Black Francis of the Pixies) continues the trends set on his previous solo efforts. His dry, sometimes abrasive voice is a perfect complement to his sardonic, witty lyrics and the Catholics’ bluesy, jazz-tinged jams.

But despite Black’s keen pop sense, the album is uncommercial in every way. This is apparent from the beginning; Dog In The Sand kicks off with the raucous, 7+ minute blues romp “Blast Off.” From there, Black traces over an eclectic range, including the 50s slowdance “Stupid Me,” the trailblazing ranchhand rock of “Bullet,” and the Bowiesque “I’ve Seen Your Picture.” Black’s unpredictable genre shifts may turn off mainstream fans, but those who like their pop music to be quirky will appreciate this.

Archived article by Ed Howard