Frank Black has developed an irritating habit of following up a half-decent album with a lacklustre one - in this case, a dreary double album that seems to slouch along for an eternity and a half, with only the faintest regard for the listener's pleasure. It's quite some indictment that by far the best tune among these 27 tracks is Ewan MacColl's "Dirty Old Town", which Frank turns into a draggy boogie; but what's really astonishing is how many genuine rock legends were required to realise such modest returns. Session veterans like Carol Kaye, Bob Babbitt, Steve Ferrone, Jim Keltner, David Hood, Reggie Young and Lyle Workman are joined by icons such as Levon Helm, Ian McLagan, Steve Cropper, Billy Swan, Spooner Oldham and PF ("Eve Of Destruction") Sloan, but between them they can't raise more than a passing interest in Frank's material, which just flops there, lifeless and unengaging. It's not helped by Black's singing, which eschews the caterwauling of his Pixies period for a delivery that sound variously like a country-rock Mose Allison, or Bobby "Boris" Pickett (of "The Monster Mash" fame) reading the phone directory.
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