Frank Black – The Cult Of Ray (1996)


„“The Cult of Ray“ sounds like the product of a man who’s lost faith in rock and listening to this tape may undermine your own faith in punk/pop. The band has a spontaneous feel to it, but the songs are arranged oddly. Frank sings and there is a straightahead bass and drum rhythm section, but the guitar solos nonstop through the whole record. That’s right, it’s just a duet between Frank and a wanking Steve Vai-ish guitar hero (Lyle Workman) with drums and bass indicating chords. The idea sounds cooler than the reality, but Frank Black seems to want to get away from the alternative-standard arrangement of distorted guitar blasting out song chords… It’s great to see Frank Black pushing at the boundaries of his musical world, but this tape has a real transitional feel to it. The songs that work best are the straightest like „The Men in Black“ and this is not a great sign on an experimental record. In some sense, the experiments are as obvious as the Breeders‘ experiments. If you look at the later John Lennon Beatles songs, he tries the same kinds of experiments: odd lyrics, throwing in extra measures or using odd rhythms, and there are numerous other similar examples. It’s not terrible to be found repeating the same kind of experiments as John Lennon, especially since Frank Black has already worked out a number of pop formulas on the Pixies records and done more than his share of influencing. But ultimately you are judged by the quality of your music and the music that you inspire, and „The Cult of Ray“ is interesting, but lacking on both counts.“ (Quelle:

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