Frank Black & The Catholics: an ever-evolving post-Pixie career, collected

Out now: A box set of six albums (three new to vinyl) by Black Francis’s post-Pixies project

Frank Black And The Catholics: The Complete Studio Albums cover art
(Image: © Demon Records)

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Between 1998 and 2003, Frank Black And The Catholics recorded six albums with a similar approach, live to two track. The first (self-titled, 1998) was the first to be posted on the e-music label, available for commercial download. 

It’s as if Black wanted to get back to some notional, raw essence on these albums, on the single, sustained chord that hangs above I Switched You (on ’99’s Pistolero), while I’ve Seen Your Picture (2001’s Dog In The Sand), feels like a pastiche of the Rolling Stones at their most honky-tonk. 

In such moments it feels like Black is yearning to be someone, something, other than himself, to escape his own bounds. However, the involvement from 2001 of musicians such as Eric Drew Feldman (formerly of the Magic Band) and Black’s former bandmate Joe Santiago made for a more elaborate sound, with the invention of Pixies coming to the fore. 

In 2002 Black released two albums simultaneously – Black Letter Days and Devil’s Workshop – as if to reflect a duality. Finally, 2003’s Show Me Your Tears sees Black as ‘himself’, reflecting ruefully on the reality of his divorce.

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.