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The Golem

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Album Review

Trimmed down from the five-disc extravaganza Black Francis sold in a limited edition of 500 copies on his website, this version of The Golem focuses more on his full-fledged songs for the 1920 silent horror film The Golem: How He Came into the World and less on his instrumental cues. While this decision might disappoint some of the film and film score geeks among Francis' fans, the album still has plenty to offer, not the least of which is Francis' reunion with longtime collaborator Eric Drew Feldman. Feldman's keyboards and Francis' voice and guitar just sound natural — and immediately recognizable — together. Joined by a backing band that includes Ralph Carney on horns, they craft music that doesn’t borrow too heavily from the ‘20s or from the film’s setting of 16th century Prague, but its loose-limbed rock still conveys the otherworldly eeriness and fable-like story of its source material. The city’s rabbi creates the Golem out of clay to project the Jewish ghetto, but the Golem rebels, devastating the city. “The Obedient Servant,” the Golem’s song of devotion to his master, is strangely sweet, but dark undercurrents lie in lyrics like “Don’t cry/It’s they who’ll die” and its brass melodies. In “Miriam and Florian,” Francis cleverly captures the love affair between the rabbi’s daughter and her knightly suitor, turning the song into a mini rock opera in its own right. The enjoyment that Francis and crew display in channeling the film’s devilish moments (“Astaroth,” “The Conjuring”) as well as its tender ones (“The Flower Song,” “[Oh How I Wish I Could] Stay") is palpable even in The Golem's edited state, and the project suggests another exciting realm in which Francis can prove his talent.

Customer Reviews

The man is just good

Here, accompanied by a stellar supporting band, Black Francis rocks his way through Wegener's Golem to memorable and impressive effect.
It more than stands on its own as a rock album, without the visuals of the movie to lean on, and it's my favorite BF release since the Catholics went on hiatus.
It's the type of album to throw on and keep in rotation. Many new classics in the mix, and a few sweet themes that recur in various forms throughout.
Rock.

Give it a spin

This album, like most Frank Black albums, has 4 or 5 songs that are worth heavy rotation. The standouts in the bunch are Bad News, (Oh How I Wish I could) Stay, Astaroth, The Maharal, and Stars. For this Frank Black fan, they are instant classics. (Oh How I Wish I Could) Stay is filled with haunting lyrics and mesmerizing harmony. Astaroth is pure fun, with the focus of the song being "an evil dude". The Maharal opens up with 1:15 of instrumental genius, only to be upstaged by some great lyrics. Stars seems to have some Bob Dylan influence, which is never a bad thing. This album is filled with thought provoking lyrics like, "slipping into darkness on the other side of time" or "there is no tomorrow, not much left of today, every breath is borrowed, oh how I wish I could stay."

Cutting the fat makes this a more listener friendly affair

I got the original 34 song version that syncs up with the film, but cutting the fat down to a nice 18 track Rock album. I could really care less if the Pixies ever did another album together. I've been loving most of Charles output as much or more as the Pixies. "What Am I To Do? I'm Just An Evil Dude"

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Black Francis is the stage name contrived by and for Charles Thompson during his residency in college rock band the Pixies, a period that ran from the group's formation in Boston during 1986 until the dark day in 1993 when Black Francis announced during a BBC radio interview that the group was disbanding. The other members of the Pixies such as Kim Deal were not yet wise to this, finding out a tad bit later when their now former associate faxed them a transcription of relevant parts of the radio...
Full Bio
The Golem, Black Francis
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Customer Ratings