Black Francis

Abbabubba: B-Sides, Etc.

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With the Pixies and as Frank Black, Black Francis often tucked away some of his best songs as B-sides, and the collection Abbabubba reveals that this is still the case. In sharp contrast to the high-concept albums like the Herman Brood homage Bluefinger, the exploration of sexuality that was NonStopErotik, and the score to the 1920 silent film The Golem, these songs are mostly short and direct, sometimes rudimentary, and almost always refreshing. Francis mixes demos of songs that made it onto full-fledged albums, like the especially raw takes on NonStopErotik's “Rabbits” and “Dead Man’s Curve,” with sketches like “Il Cuchaiao” and “The Water,” both of which were only available previously from Francis’ official website. Abbabubba delivers the real goods with more fleshed-out tracks like “Serious Curious,” which echoes “Monkey Gone to Heaven” with its spoken word verses, the playful “Polly’s into Me,” and “Alabaster,” another website exclusive that pays tribute to another of Francis’ sci-fi girls. Meanwhile, “Get Away Oil,” a rocker originally on the Threshold Apprehension EP, shows that Francis still has the ability to inject the most innocuous words with crazed tension with the way he snarls “mouse!” Three remixes of the 2008 single “The Seus” add to the quirky, hodgepodge feel here, with Infadels cutting and pasting the track almost beyond recognition, Charles Normal adding synth strings to the song that make it sound like it came from Frank Black or Teenager of the Year, and Bloc Party transforming it into a serrated dancefloor workout. While there are a few rarities missing here, Abbabubba still works as a goodie bag for Black Francis fans who need these previously far-flung tracks.

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