He has been chasing that pie in the sky since he advertised in Boston (he was called Black Francis then) for recruits to a 'Husker Du/Peter, Paul and Mary band'. The Pixies serenaded both sides of the Atlantic in the late Eighties with their structured abandonment, dispensing melody and abrasion in equal measure. Surfer Rosa, Doolittle and Bossanova formed a furious triptych, and it's no great discredit that Black has struggled to emulate such caustic majesty on his two solo double albums (another erstwhile Pixie, Kim Deal, is getting there with The Breeders). Teenager of the Year is his most relaxed work to date, his anger tempered by a new expansiveness, with shades of Lou Reed and J J Cale here and there (even - dare I say it - Dire Straits). See more of his fooling around tomorrow, on his only 1994 post-Reading date in this country.
Frank Black, Sat 17 Sept, Shepherd's Bush Empire (081-740 7474); LP Teenager of the Year (4AD)