Monday, 7 February 2011

Listen Up! No. 94: Black Francis - Bad News

Eccentric as ever he is, in 2008 former Pixies master of ceremonies Black Francis knocked up a film score to compliment German silent-film The Golem: How He Came Into The World for a screening at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Quite what bespectacled art-house film buffs in tweed jackets and corduroys made of it is anyone's guess, but Francis thought the score worthy enough of a limited 500-copy release in 2010. The original run's hour and half of twisted surficana sprawl largely did justice to the film-score concept. However, a new condensed version - call it the musical director's cut - plays out as another arrestingly subversive rock album to file among Francis' high-calibre canon.

On 'Bad News', Francis plays it about as straight as he can bear. "Something in the stars says that we are through" he croons in a hearty croak more emotive than flippant, for a change. And yet, one twisted chord change throws the whole thing off-kilter, while pretty strings are gnarled into a something gothic, almost menacing. A ballad, yes, but splayed in all directions as if mirrored in the back of a spoon. Sehr gut, as they say.

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