April 18, 2024

Black Francis: Nonstoperoptik

Never afraid of having a go at something different, Frank Black has moved one step closer to his roots with this surprisingly mainstream Indie/rock offering. 

That’s not to say he’s gone all shoe-gazy. Opening track ‘Lake Of Sin’ sounds like a lost Nirvana track, while ‘Wheels’ – a cover of a Flying Burrito Brothers song – sounds like a classic American driving song, designed for open roads and views of mountains. 

Sadly, from hereon in it becomes the norm. 

As we move through ‘Dead Man’s Curve’, ‘Six Legged Man’ and others, Black Francis seemingly takes his foot off the gas and allows things to become, well, a bit Springsteen. Which is fine for The Boss, but rather pedestrian in this context. 

The only interruption to service are the duo of ‘When I Go Down On You’ and ‘NonStopErotik’, which are the first – and only – explicit references to the theme of sex that Black has tried to instil through the album (at least according to his Press Release), and it feels uncomfortable. After eight middle-of-the-road rock anthems, it feels like he got bored of being normal and had to try to be controversial. Sadly this doesn’t work, due to the massive overstatement of the lyrics and the fact that musically he remains somewhere around Tom Petty. 

I found this enjoyable while driving with the window open, so I could drift in and out of the words and enjoy the music. I suggest you do the same. 


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