Black Francis Nonstoperotik
Ever since reverting from Frank Black back to his Pixies-era stage name of Black Francis for 2007’s Bluefinger, the man born Charles Thompson IV has been exploring the more decadent corners of his id with an increasing sense of urgency. It’s only inevitable, then, that Nonstoperotik would finally make explicit the seamy, menacing sexuality that’s been lurking underneath the surface since “I’ve Been Tired” and “Nimrod’s Son.” Album-opener “Lake Of Sin” casts a backward glance at Black’s early years with the Pentecostal church, pairing pummeling guitars with subdued, almost repentant vocals, before segueing into the politely pattering drum machine of “O My Tidy Sum” and the surprisingly tender saxophone solo of “Rabbits.” Black has had mixed results with covers in the past (check out the dancehall-ready version of “Hang On To Your Ego” on his solo debut for evidence), and his take on “Wheels” subtracts more than it adds to the Flying Burrito Brothers classic. Thankfully, it’s followed by Nonstoperotik’s uniformly strong second half, as Black yelps his way through “When I Go Down On You” and “Dead Man’s Curve” while tugging out the syllables like a sex-starved Van Morrison. Nonstoperotik showcases Black’s gift for mixing the sinful with the sublime. Hopefully he has the stamina for a repeat performance.