Release Date: Oct 11, 2011
Record label: Sonic Unyon
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Since the late ‘90s, Black Francis -- or Frank Black, take your pick -- has thrived on quickly made projects, and Paley & Francis is no exception. Recorded in two days in Nashville, Tennessee when Francis was on a break during the Pixies' 2010 tours, the album has the kind of off-the-cuff, palpable sense of fun that happens when two old friends lay down tracks together (joined by Muscle Shoals players David Hood and Spooner Oldham). These songs reside in the same rootsy/punky territory as much of Francis' 2000s solo work, which isn’t surprising since Reid Paley, Hood, and Oldham have worked with him on many of those projects.
Wednesday evening in Albany, New York, I’m at Valentine’s to see the inaugural performance of the duo Paley & Francis. During the course of their set, they will play their (at the time) forthcoming album in its entirety. Two weeks earlier, I had gotten the album and listened to it a few times. Two weeks into the future, I’ll discuss it with one of the co-creators over the phone.
Despite the feeling that the always recognizable and idiosyncratic Pixies have contributed aplenty to the musical landscape of the last 20 years, Black Francis, their singer and chief songwriter, is still more diverse than he seems. If you compared his first solo album, 1993’s grunge-infused Frank Black, with the sometimes-country stylings of 2006’s Fast Man Raider Man or even the synth and brass re-arrangements of Pixies songs on Frank Black Francis, you’d stumble upon three very different albums with an assortment of styles. But one thing that Black Francis couldn’t change if he tried is that voice of his.