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Frank Black

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Album Review

Frank Black's solo career took more than a few sonic detours over the years, ranging from synth-heavy new wave homages to rootsy nods to Nashville's glory days. However, 93-03 focuses on the crunchy, quirky rock that has made up the heart of Black's music since the Pixies' breakup. This approach makes for a consistent listening experience, showing that there's less musical distance between songs like Teenager of the Year's "Calistan" and Black Letter Days' "California Bound" than previously imagined. On the other hand, this collection might be almost too straightforward, especially for hardcore fans, who might very well wonder why inspired tangents like Frank Black's wonderful instrumental "Tossed" or Dog in the Sand's epics "Blast Off" and "St. Francis Dam Disaster" aren't represented here. Quibbling aside, 93-03 does a fine job of pointing out the brightest highlights of Black's solo work, from the sci-fi rock of "Los Angeles," "Freedom Rock" and "Men in Black" to more confessional, thoughtfully written songs like "Manitoba," "Western Star" and "Speedy Marie." Even if it doesn't capture everything that makes Frank Black's music great, 93-03 is a good starting point — anyone intrigued by these songs will love discovering the wilder territory of Black's discography later on.


Born: 06 April 1965 in Boston, MA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Inverting his stage name from Black Francis to Frank Black, the former Pixies lead singer/songwriter embarked on a solo career after he broke up the band in early 1993; actually, he began recording his solo album before he told the band the news. Working with former Pere Ubu member Eric Drew Feldman, Black occasionally heads into the ferocious post-punk guitar territory that marked such landmark albums as Surfer Rosa and Doolittle, but more frequently he plays up his considerably underrated melodic...
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