Black Francis NonStopErotik(Cooking Vinyl) Buy it from Insound
Let’s be honest, Black Francis isn’t that sexy, but he does write a lot about sex (usually the depraved, lustful, low-fantasy brand of sex) but sex none the less. His obsession with the topic can be traced back to the early days of the Pixies (I’ve Been Tired anyone?) but his latest in a remarkably long line of solo albums, NonStopErotik, is the most upfront about its subject matter. As you can tell by the charming title, NonStopErotik is primarily a sex album, but it’s less gross than you’d probably think. It’s more interested in the humanity, and even the spirituality of sex than the wild-dog fucking that dominate the Pixies discography.
Besides a somewhat out-of-place Flying Burrito Brothers cover, NonStopErotik is entirely without surprises; opener Lake of Sin adheres to the ‘Loud Quiet Loud’ blueprint Francis has spent his entire career patenting. It’s all serviceable of course, it’s clear that the songwriter has lost no steam over his now tri-decade career. Tracks like the southern-tinged Dead Man’s Curve, the Trompe le Monde-esque Six Legged Man, and the surprisingly tender When I Go Down on You scream like they fell out of the early 90s. He hits far more than he misses.
NonStopErotik aims to be a fast-paced, smutty guitar-rock album, and it hits that without any trouble. That of course counts for something, but it’s not necessarily a winning endorsement. The record ends up being a little inconsequential, it doesn’t have any obvious weakpoints per se, but this sound is so well-tred (admittedly by younger bands aiming to replicate exactly what Francis did) that you can’t help but get a little bored. All that being said, Black is still a hell of a lot more dedicated than his fellow alterna-rock artifacts, and it does take respectable amount of huevos to release such a sex-focused record at the venerable age of 45 – especially considering how much of a sex symbol Francis isn’t.
NonStopErotik lives and dies on your particular hunger for music like this in 2010. If you love what Francis has done over the span of his solo work, (and to a lesser extent, if you love the Pixies) you’ll find just enough in the album to merit a listen or two. If you only have a passing interest, it’s probably not worth your 45 minutes.12 April, 2010 - 21:14 — Luke John Winkie