Frank Black – The Cult of Ray

ARTIST: Frank Black 220px-Fbray

TITLE:  The Cult of Ray

YEAR RELEASED: 1996

CHART ACTION: #127 US, #1 US Heatseekers, #39 UK

SINGLES: Men In Black (#37 UK), The Marsist, I Don’t Want to Hurt You (#63)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: A few songs may have trickled out on radio.

LINEUP: Frank Black, Scott Boutier, Dave McCaffery, Lyle Worklman

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A slight change in direction for this third solo album that doesn’t quite work out.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After two good-to-great solo records, the former Pixies front man comes back with a new-ish band, a new approach, and…convention?

Not everything is conventional, of course. There’s still a little bit of Black’s patented oddness floating about. Though sometimes it seems only in the titles of the songs (“Kicked in the Taco”, “Mosh, Don’t Pass the Guy”) than in the actual execution.

This album didn’t have the sprawling excess of Teenager of the Year, which was a step forward. Yet, there seems to few of ideas instead of too many. There are some good songs here (especially “The Marsist”) and Black wasn’t totally out of ideas (the new band seemed to invigorate him later on), but he seemed coasting here.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Most of the backing musicians became The Catholics, Black’s backing band for several years. Also, the title is a reference to author Ray Bradbury.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION:  Yes. Some Japanese editions had extra cuts.

GRADE: B-: I may have been a little too negative, because there is some good stuff here but it frankly is the first disappointing album coming from Black and the Pixies.

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