Frank Black and the Catholics

Frank Black and the Catholics

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Frank Black and the Catholics Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Never trust an artist's opinion on his own recordings. Frank Black calls Frank Black and the Catholics the "best recording [he] ever made," ignoring a decade worth of great, innovative indie rock. A better assessment may be: Frank Black and the Catholics is the most direct record he's ever made. If you just want garage punk, stripped of all the odd time signatures, subverted chord progressions, cryptic lyrics, and sonic experimentation that marked his first two albums, as well as his work with the Pixies, this album may satisfy your needs. Then again, all those "frills" were part of the reason Black was such a respected and influential artist, and without them he sounds disturbingly conventional. Fortunately, The Catholics doesn't trade in the sub-metal clich├ęs that plagued The Cult of Ray, concentrating on straight-ahead garage punk. There are some good hooks on the songs and the performances have some real energy, but all the songs wind up blending into each other by the end of the record. On the whole, it's a step forward from The Cult of Ray, but it still feels like a retreat from his entire body of work.

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