I'm so excited. Like so many folks I know, after the infamous
Cult Of Ray record, I decided I no longer needed to listen
to Frank Black. He seemed to have played out all the good
music from his body and was turning towards Brian Wilson
directions I didn't need to live through with another artist.
Imagine my joy at discovering that Frank Black was finally back
to making good, solid rock music again, even throwing in a bit
of Americana influence. I'm still excited, and it's been months
since I discovered.
The biggest thing to notice on Honeycomb is that the songs
are for the most part recorded live in the studio. There are minimal
overdubs, none of them even remotely noticeable. The music has
a certain gleam to it that speaks of the glory days of early rock
possibly the work of Steve Cropper playing guitar on the
entire record. The cast of players reads like a studio wish list
besides Cropper, Anton Fig bangs the drums, Spooner
Oldham joins in on keyboards, and blues giant Buddy Miller
even swings by to lend his guitar chops to the mix. The last magic
ingredient to the sound on Honeycomb was its being recorded
in Nashville. You can't deny it, there is something magical in
the air around that town
it makes great music.
The result of all these fine pieces being stuck together is a
record of highly listenable and easy-sounding brilliance. The
album starts strong with "Selkie Bride", a beautiful
song based around clean acoustic guitars and piano runs
This song is more reminiscent of old-school Frank Black/Pixies
than one would imagine from the laidback vibe it gives off. The
vocal melodies are highly ingenious, and gently accent the clever
lyric at the best of times. The lead single "I Burn Today"
is laced with close-to-Nashville-country style double stop licks
and another laid back rhythm that will certainly promote a sense
of well being and casual happiness. Steve Cropper proves that
he has not lost "it" as he shines on "Lone Child",
with its groovy bassline and ample space for great guitar work.
"Strange Goodbye" sees Jean Black adding her
voice for a nice duet with Frank while Glen Campbell style
country drives on in the background. This song is surely one of
the finer points of Frank Black's career.
Frank Black steps out on this record and takes a few songs out
to cover some fine classic rhythm and blues music. Included is
a shining version of the remarkable "Dark End Of The Street",
which stays close to the original, but emphasizes the slow groove
and smoky attitude that the song has always possessed. The guitar
solo is divine, filled with superb tone and a ton of soul. Doug
Sahm's "Sunday Sunny Mill Valley Groove Day" is
a joy to hear re-invented by someone of Black's unique character.
The song maintains its Texas sound, but gains a bit of bounce
from the inclusion of a swingier rhythm track and bright guitar
comping. Frank sure knows how to pick his covers, lending his
own unique sound to them while maintaining the integrity of the
I suppose I was never not a fan of Black Francis,
but now I can say that he's once again making music that I can
wholeheartedly recommend to friends and family alike. It's a good
time to be alive.
1. Selkie Bride
2. I Burn Today
3. Lone child
4. Another Velvet Nightmare
5. Dark End Of The Street
6. Go Find Your Saint
7. Song Of The Shrimp
8. Strange Goodbye
9. Sunday Sunny Mill Valley Groove Day
11. My Life Is In Storage
12. Atom In My Heart
14. Sing For Joy
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