Release Date: Apr 14, 2009
Record label: Blackseal
It would almost certainly be a waste of time and words to talk much about Frank Black/Black Francis as a prelude (for those who don't know, click here). We all know of the Pixies and countless solo albums since the Bostonian giants split up, then reformed, did a bit of touring and...well, you really should know the whole back story back to front by now. For his next trick (actually, David Lovering was the magician in Pixies, wasn't he?) Black teamed up with his wife, Violet Clark, went into a studio, had a few arguments, made songs and came out with these tracks which ended up as Grand Duchy's first LP, a refined piece of work known as Petits Fours.
Violet Clark grew up loving '80s synth pop and new wave; as Black Francis, Frank Black pioneered the alternative rock sound of the late '80s and early '90s. As Grand Duchy, the duo marry these styles into Petits Fours' shiny, surprisingly eclectic style. While Clark appeared on Black's Honeycomb and Fast Man Raider Man, Petits Fours feels truly like a joint effort -- they take turns singing lead and bringing their particular strengths to the fore, and Clark's contributions don't feel overwhelmed by playing with an alt rock great (who just happens to be her husband).
When a great singer-songwriter quits his regular band to start a project with his wife, that’s when we know for sure that it’s safe to stop listening. It’s not that married couples are incapable of making good music together. It’s just that when a great artist brings his or her spouse into the fold, it’s almost always subtraction by addition.