Frank Black

What's this? Frank Black, the mercurial leader of the Pixies, one of the most brooding and foreboding bands from the postpunk era, sounding enthusiastic? Soaking up the vibe of an all-star musical assemblage — Steve Cropper, Spooner Oldham, Buddy Miller, The Band's Levon Helm, Cheap Trick's Tom Petersson, Bad Company's Simon Kirk, and Motown great Bob Babbitt, among others — Black rambles down the back roads of classic Americana. The result is a stirring, soulful, tuneful set of songs — 27 spread across this double-disc set — each of which makes an immediate and indelible impression. The pessimistic refrain from "It's Just Not Your Moment" proves misdirected. It's obvious that in crafting this album for the ages, he's made this moment his.

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Lee Zimmerman