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CD Revue

Music: Black Francis, Le Loup, Shout Out Louds, Kurt Cobain: About a Son



Black Francis, Blue Finger


Over the last year or so, we’ve seen which famous band reunions are justified and which ones were simply fueled by a big money sign (cough The Police cough). Instead of trying to follow the sting of “Fields of Gold”-esque wussiness, The Pixies’ sound is marked by the same intensity that launched countless Kim Deal crushes, thereby justifying a solid reunion. The Pixies’ sound has remained relatively untouched, so it’s no surprise that singer Black Francis’ (Frank Black) solo album feels just like a Pixies extension. Besides the punk-fueled opener “Captain Pasty,” songs like “Threshold Apprehension” recall the Pixies’ manic “Broken Face” and “Angels Come to Comfort You” has the same ghostly vibe as “Where Is My Mind?” But if the sound’s not broke, why fix it? (Cooking Vinyl)

Le Loup, The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly


Why, oh why, must bands put out literary-concept albums? It only gives clout to pretentious, English major D-bags who feel it’s their duty to explain why a Decemberists album is so good. These elite pricks probably think that Le Loup’s Throne is great because it’s structured after Dante’s Inferno and that its sameness is actually a brilliant use of themes or other “literary” jargon. While that may be true, it doesn’t excuse the fact that these themes (monkish vocalizing and banjo) mostly sound like filler connecting Animal Collective-like pop experimentation. The last three tracks combine these themes in spectacular fashion, but by then the literary D-bags have explained it enough times that, frankly, you just don’t give a damn. (Hardly Art)

Shout Out Louds, Our Ill Wills


Stockholm’s Shout Out Louds pick up where The Cure’s Robert Smith left off when he decided he wanted to be happy and write “Friday I’m in Love.” Each song has a dreamy, carpe diem catchiness to it, and the silly-but-endearing way singer Adam Olenius pronounces all his S’s as ‘sh” (“Shay what you’ll shay/ I am lishtening”) only add to the overall charm. However, there is a point when Our Ill Wills is too sweet to swallow—more at home in a Target commercial than in your home stereo. (Merge)

Kurt Cobain: About a Son,  Music From the Motion Picture


I’m going to say it: Kurt Cobain was immensely more interesting than the music he created. Sure, Nevermind is a good album, but so is Alice in Chains’ Dirt and Soundgarden’s Superunknown, which all feel similarly dated (except the brilliant Unplugged album which was more of a Cobain portrait than Nirvana). There are no Nirvana songs on this soundtrack—just a collage of Cobain’s inspirations, from The Vaseline’s “Son of a Gun,” to David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” (both of which Nirvana covered at one point). It’s actually an intricate framework behind a man who remains an enigma. (Barsuk)