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Black Francis: Bluefinger

B

Black Francis

Album: Bluefinger
Label: Cooking Vinyl

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On Bluefinger, the newly resurrected persona of Pixies frontman Black Francis doesn't smother his alter ego, Frank Black. If anything, Francis lifts up some of Frank's understated charms in the album's frenzy. "Tight Black Rubber" and "Threshold Apprehension" recall the Pixies' ferocity within wise limits—no session players attempt Joey Santiago-type guitar leads here. After "Rubber," Francis shuffles into the bittersweet "Angels Come To Comfort You," which could work on a number of Frank Black solo albums, in spite of a dreamy coda that sounds almost like a Doolittle outtake. Thanks to pairings like that, Bluefinger achieves something more admirable than a return to form—it reconciles two decades' worth of forms and revisits an older self without undoing the growth that followed.