Frank Black: The Cult of Ray (1996)

[Kronomyth 3.0]

The Myth of Cultosaurus Erayctus

The Cult of Ray often gets fingered as the weakest of Black’s brood, and I suppose we should all be so lucky. Yes, the guitar riffs are pedestrian alternative retreads half of the time: “Dance War,” “Kicked In The Taco,” “Punk Rock City.” Yes, the Pixies never made a record this predictable. But I’ve trundled my little biscuits through too many bad discs by artists like Bob Mould and Tin Machine to dismiss The Cult of Ray out of hand. There are at least half a dozen overcaffeinated, three-minute adventures on here that lead down dirty alleys where strange shapes can be glimpsed darting furtively from can to can. “The Last Stand of Shazeb Andleeb,” “The Cult of Ray” and “The Creature Crawling” are not disappointing in any sense that I can see. If you’re looking for a defining moment, try the statement of purpose “Jesus Was Right” (“I like distortion when I barchord”) followed immediately by the lumpy “I Don’t Want To Hurt You (Every Single Time)” and the palate-cleansing instrumental “Mosh, Don’t Pass The Guy.” (And hyperbolic hydra that I am, I always have to check to see if I have the right palate.) Whatever side of the fence you’re on after those three tracks is where you’ll stay for The Cult of Ray. I’ll admit, I didn’t like this disc the first few times I heard it, except for maybe the unsinkable “Men In Black” and “I Don’t Want To Hurt You.” I thought it was too much like the faceless army of alternative rockers who feigned toward greatness. But then I remembered that Frank Black was the genuine article, and the Cult won me back. However, since I haven’t heard any of the other FB discs (with or without The Catholics), don’t read into this review an endorsement over his first two solo efforts.

The Songs
1. The Marsist (4:10)
2. Men In Black (3:01)
3. Punk Rock City (3:39)
4. You Ain’t Me (2:40)
5. Jesus Was Right (2:58)
6. I Don’t Want To Hurt You (Every Single Time) (3:02)
7. Mosh, Don’t Pass The Guy (2:59)
8. Kicked In The Taco (2:23)
9. The Creature Crawling (2:50)
10. The Adventure And The Resolution (2:58)
11. Dance War (2:05)
12. The Cult of Ray (3:42)
13. The Last Stand of Shazeb Andleeb (4:41)

All songs written by Frank Black.

Limited edition bonus compact disc EP
1. Village of the Sun
2. Baby, That’s Art
3. Everybody Got The Beat
4. Can I Get A Witness

The Players
Frank Black (vocals, guitar right), Scott Boutler (drums), David McCaffrey (bass), Lyle Workman (guitar left) with Nick Vincent (drums and bass on 6), Matt Yelton (backing vocals). Produced by Frank Black; mixed by Andy MacPherson; engineered by Matt Yelton.

The Pictures
Design by Inertia.

The Plastic
Released on compact disc and compact disc+bonus disc on January 30, 1996 in the US (American, 43070-2) and the UK (Epic, EPC-48167); reached #127 on the US charts and #39 on the UK charts.

  1. Re-issued on compact disc on October 15, 2001 in the US (Cooking Vinyl, COOKCD221).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *