Nine years after his Cult Of Ray release, Pixie’s Frank Black returns with his latest solo release, Honeycomb. It has been worth the wait.
Produced by Jon Tiven, who also work on Francis’s Headache EP in ’94, Honeycomb bounces melancholic and serene with the assistance of a slough of highly regarded musicians (Buddy Miller, Reggie Young, David Hood, Anton Fig, to name a few.)
Frank’s voice is like we’ve never heard it. It is confidently soft and un-disappointingly lazy – not in a bad way; but in an almost tired, blues way – with few exceptions, one of which being on ”Another Velvet Nightmare,” on which he gruffly stammers “Today I felt my heart / slide into my belly / so I puked it up with liquor / and slept right where I laid.” It is in the manner that Connor Oberst has on stage as he reaches the bottom of his wine bottle and sings the one about his brother getting arrested.
Though there is certain intensity, don’t expect any Pixies-esque eccentricity. Honeycomb is a chronicle of straightforward, cohesive story-telling reflections, with a learned, adult instrumentation and structure. It’s the kind of material you swore you would never be into when you were fifteen and jamming out to “Wave of Mutilation.” Look at you loving it now…