Hot on the heels of the Edsel box set ‘Black Francis: 07 – 11’ comes the vinyl debuts of ‘The Golem’ and ‘Nonstoperotik’. Color vinyl, 2LP, Remastered, Gatefold is just about right for this series of Black Francis releases on wax for the first time.
‘The Golem’ is (for those who are unaware) a soundtrack album written and performed by Black Francis for the San Francisco International Film Festival screening of the 1920 silent horror film ‘The Golem: How He Came Into The World’. Of the concept, Francis said “Film fest wants a soundtrack to be performed at a screening… I don’t know how to do that exactly, but the idea that me and some buddies hang out at a studio and make a record I understand. So that’s what we do.” This vinyl reissue features the “rock songs” version of the album across two 140g grey vinyl and very nice it is too. I guess having a decade of distance between the release and the re-release is great as you can really put some love into the detail. I’ve not seen the film and have no inkling to do so but I might after hearing this record. from the first real track ‘Makanujo’ with its jazzy saxophone my brain is bouncing. ‘Bad News’ is like something the Eels produce. eighteen tracks splashed out over two slabs of Vinyl is great and don’t feel intimidated by the “Soundtrack Album” tag because as Francis fans will know all his albums are more like a journey anyway and some of the songs here are excellent and some of his finest to date off any album.
It’s a lot of music to get through but the experience is rewarding and the songs are great even out of context or sequence I raised an eyebrow and chuckled at ‘Little Star Theme’ when I first heard it on CD and still do on record with its dramatic pauses and flute work. I guess as a record Francis was able to throw the kitchen sink at this project and from Flutes to harpsichords and loud distorted crazy horse guitars, its all in here The acoustic strum of ‘Stars’ to the chaotic ‘You’re Gonna Pay’ its a great bunch of tunes and well worth picking up.
‘Nonstoperotik’ – First released in 2010, NonStopErotik is the final Frank Black Francis solo album. It was written in the back of a Cadillac whilst being driven around the “crispy brown hills of Cali”. It was then Recorded in Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and RAK Studios in London. producer and frequent collaborator Eric Drew Feldman was at the controls. Black said of the recordings “I had the title of the record and decided that was the theme, so I guess it’s supposed to be an erotic record. For me, I think it’s more of a weird record.” Here it is on wax for the first time on coloured vinyl.
Two months after The Golem, ‘NonStopErotik‘ was done and dusted. The album was recorded in double quick time much like a lot of Francis’ records with cohort producer Eric Drew Feldman.
A lot of this record feels like it could have been Pixiefied and flows really well. tracks like ‘Corina’ are just rock n rollas plain and simple but with that lose feel. Again a record I perhaps overlooked when it came out and one I’ve not played in a few years but have throughly enjoyed revisiting it here. Sure I go back to the first three solo albums that were Frank Black but maybe these re releases have sprinkled a bit of magic in these here grooves and this one has benefitted from the straight rockin feel. ‘Six Legged Man’ is majestic lofi fuzzed up and to the point which is uncomplicated and spot on. Between two and three minutes long makes for a cool album I’m not sure its erotic but Frank was right calling it a little weird but not too weird except for maybe ‘Wild Son’ and the mental picture of ‘When I Go Down On You’ and the title track is piano heavy epic and dark all without being any of those things if you catch my drift? it never builds into a loud ending but maybe a touch jazzy and smouldering before ‘Cinema Star’ closes off a really good record maybe ut of step clocking in at almost six minutes sounding like a Sonic Youth song especially the first third but then veering off with the querky keys at the end.
Tip of the hat to Mr Francis / Black hes a great songwriter and releaser of records with a hefty and impressive back catalog that has now been rightly released on vinyl. Do yourself a favour and get involved and dive in. Quality!
Author: Dom Daley