Success with one band is a mixed blessing if a musician dares to keep making music after that success. Proto-"alt rock" darlings, the Pixies, sold out their recent Boise show in about a millisecond. Frank Black with his (con)current band, the Catholics, is something different. Ten years ago, people complained that Roger Waters's post-Pink Floyd career sounded too much like Floyd. Inversely, people complain today that Black's current sound isn't enough like the Pixies.
The latest release from Frank Black and the Catholics, Show Me Your Tears is a continuation of Black's not being a Pixie. He's a little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll—he's a Sultan of Swing. This isn't a bad thing. It's been a dozen years since the Pixies imploded. It would be a shame if Black kept treading old ground—as awesome as it was—for the rest of his career. Show Me Your Tears takes a few listens to appreciate, but it's a twanging, contemplative gem. Standout tracks include the relentlessly thrumming "Nadine," the gravelly "My Favorite Kiss" and the three-quarter time tear-in-yer-beer "When Will Happiness Find Me Again?".
An integral part of what made the Pixies rock was their constant experimentation. Black is still experimenting. Lucky us.