Picks and Pans Review: The Cult of Ray

updated 02/05/1996 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/05/1996 AT 01:00 AM EST

Frank Black

On his third solo album, former Pixies frontman Frank Black offers more variations on his ex-band's excellent surfer-punk adventure: He embraces a Sex Pistols-meets-Beach Boys aesthetic, where whiplash guitar pummels hummable melodies, and songs sport titles like "Mosh, Don't Pass the Guy" and "Kicked in the Taco." Further boosting his Cult appeal, Black continues to excel as a vocal chameleon. He adopts a menacing tone on the ominously percussive "The Creature Crawling" and verges on hysteria over the aggressively un-danceable groove of "Dance War." But it's when Black gets purposefully touchy-feely on the delightfully gooey' "I Don't Want to Hurt You (Every Single Time)" that his Cult of Ray really threatens to drastically expand its one-man membership. (American Recordings)

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