Album: Black Francis, sv n f ng rs, (Cooking Vinyl)

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The Independent Culture

In recent years, Black Francis has been perhaps a little too prolific for his own good, releasing a stream of albums marked as much by a shaky grasp of quality control as by the dizzying brilliance of his original Pixies work.

Confining himself here to a mere seven tracks, with everything written, recorded and mixed in just seven days, the results are much more focused and engaging; there are even touches of that classic Pixies combination of punk rock and pop charm in tracks like "I Sent Away" and "Garbage Heap", whose narrative darts from a rubbish tip on the edge of town to Jerusalem, in the twinkling of a line.

These songs are like paper-chases, following the breeze of Francis's imagination, line by line: in the electric skiffle number "Seven Fingers", a sad man with seven fingers, seven toes, a dark face and multi-coloured hair has his life brightened by a night of sex; while best of all, the chippy protagonist of "The Seus" (Theseus?) proclaims "I am double-dosed, you are ghosts, you are toast, you are bandidos" with the deadpan arrogance of hip-hop, over a lumpy beat and spider-scrawl guitar akin to The Magic Band.

Download this: 'The Seus', 'Garbage Heap', 'Seven Fingers'