‘Honeycomb’ Not Too Sweet
Frank Black has had an amazing year. The Pixies tour went well and there are rumors of a new album from them. In the meantime he releases Honeycomb, an album of back-to-basics roots rock recorded with a few legendary individuals (Steve Cropper, Reggie Young, Anton Fig, etc.). Despite the cast, this album remains the product of Frank Black. Even the covers (â€šÃ„ÃºDark End of the Street,â€šÃ„Ã¹ â€šÃ„ÃºSong of the Shrimp,â€šÃ„Ã¹ & â€šÃ„ÃºSunday Sunny Mill Valley Groove Dayâ€šÃ„Ã¹) are given his distinct personal stamp with his delivery and overall sardonic interpretation. On the albumâ€šÃ„Ã´s centerpiece, â€šÃ„ÃºStrange Goodbye,â€šÃ„Ã¹ he sings with his at-the-moment wife, Jean about their coming divorce. Frank is perfectly at home in what could be an awkward situation for most. Other moments of affable sorrow are scattered throughout the album in â€šÃ„ÃºAnother Velvet Nightmare,â€šÃ„Ã¹ â€šÃ„ÃºGo Find Your Saint,â€šÃ„Ã¹ and in the closer, â€šÃ„ÃºSing For Joy.â€šÃ„Ã¹
The lesser points tend to pop up when he seems to feel intimidated, even star-struck by his surroundings. On â€šÃ„ÃºI Burn Today,â€šÃ„Ã¹ â€šÃ„ÃºMy Life is in Storage,â€šÃ„Ã¹ and the title track, he seems to tailor himself to recording with legends in Nashville. On â€šÃ„ÃºSelkie Bride,â€šÃ„Ã¹ we find his esoteric symbolism falling short of the mark because he seems to desperately want to fit in.
Despite his adventurous nature and his influential supporting cast, Honeycomb jumps between Frankâ€šÃ„Ã´s desire to blend in and be himself without coming to any middle ground. Though all the elements are in place for a top-notch combination, Frank often becomes distracted by his influences. When heâ€šÃ„Ã´s focused and sure of himself, itâ€šÃ„Ã´s a down-home and subdued dance-your-way-through-your-pain that only the unique Frank Black could deliver.