Just as Black Francis' Bluefinger was a musical portrait of Dutch painter, poet, and punk rocker Herman Brood, Frank Black stays in a conceptual frame of mind with the mini-album SVN FNGRS, which draws inspiration from the Irish mythological figure Cúchulainn, who has seven fingers on each of his hands. Title aside, the album's references to Cúchulainn aren't often apparent, but what comes through loud and clear is how charged these songs are. SVN FNGRS kicks off with "The Seus," an instant classic in Black's catalog. Burly guitars, a stuttering rhythm, and layers of Black's shouty vocals wrestle each other into a prickly, funky groove, updating the weirdness, smartness, and undeniable hooks of Frank Black songs like "Los Angeles" and "Ten Percenter." Black works his Stooges fetish harder than he has in years on "I Sent Away," a song with jabbing riffs that rocks harder than anything on Bluefinger did. Though the set only has seven songs (of course), it shows off Black's range, with softer and more vulnerable songs like the sweetly ambling pop of "Half Man" and "The Tale of Lonesome Fetter" providing the yin to some of the louder tracks' yang. Song for song, this is one of Black's strongest solo releases.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares