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Devil's Workshop


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Audio CD, August 20, 2002
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 20, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: 2002
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Spin Art
  • ASIN: B00006BSUY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,333 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Velvety
2. Out Of State
3. His Kingly Cave
4. San Antonio, TX
5. Bartholomew
6. Modern Age
7. Are You Headed My Way?
8. Heloise
9. The Scene
10. Whiskey In Your Shoes
11. Fields Of Marigold

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
Fans will love it.
Anthony Cooper
Last year's "Dog in the Sand," while a good album, made me worried that Frank Black was losing steam.
Herb Mallette
I thought it sounded too much like 'The End of Miles' and 'St. Francis Dam Disaster'.
Omer Belsky

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Omer Belsky on September 13, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Even the most cursory listening to Frank Black's recent music will show a significant change, most noticeably since 2001's excellent Dog in the Sand. Frank has abandoned the Punk sound that was constant through the youthful enthusiasm of Come on Pilgrim and Surfer Rosa, the Pop brilliance of Doolittle, the Alternative and experimental first two solo records, and the hard rocking first two Catholic records. Although in concert Frank has often retained the Punk sound, in his recordings, he has become 'The Man Who Was Too Loud', trading Punk with Folk, Roots Rock and Country influences.
When in 2002, Frank released two albums in the same time, critics and fans alike saw the longer piece (Black Letter Days), as the mellower, folkyier album, while the Devil's Workshop was perceived as the hard rock, return-to-the-pixies-style album.
Although the observation is not without merit, it is deeply misleading. While Devil's Workshop is somewhat more rock oriented then Black Letter Days, it very much represents the Frank Black of 2002. Not returning to the harder rockin' Frank of Doolittle or even Pistolero, this album is mostly filled with mid tempo rockers, and the only great different from Black Letter Days is the widespread use of distortion. It is the quality of the execution that makes this, like most of Frank's work, a very worthwhile collection of songs.
Perhaps the single most important reason for the `return to the Pixies' comments is the inclusion of a song which previously appeared as a Pixies B-side. Velvety, apparently written as an instrumental when Frank was 16.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "dresneer" on August 21, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Perhaps the oddest aspect of Frank Black's dual albums (the other being Black Letter Days), is that this record is only half as long as the other. Devil's Workshop, however, has more to offer than BLD.
Long time fans of the Pixies will recognize the old Dig for Fire B-Side "Velvety", only this time with lyrics. Pre-Catholics Frank Black die-hards will also cheer at the inclusion of "Modern Age", the first studio version of the Kitchen Tapes song previously only available on "The Black Sessions- Live in Paris" import.
As for the new material, Devil's Workshop has its share of throw-aways, but the songs that shine are some of Frank Black's better works. "His Kingly Cave" is loaded with calculated chord changes that can't help but capture your attention; its follow-up, "San Antonio, TX", is almost as great and catchy as Dog in the Sand's "Llano Del Rio". The album even ends strongly. "Whiskey in Your Shoes" is a frantic, fast paced gem with lyrics sounding as if they were written by Johnny Cash. The final track, "Fields of Marigold", while good, also proves that Frank Black likes Bob Dylan so much that he wants to be him. (You'll see what I mean.)
When it comes to the two albums, it's a tough call which one to choose between. While Devil's Workshop has the better tracks, Black Letter Days does have the better flow. Luckily, we're all Frank Black fans, so I know you'll buy both. (If you don't have any Frank Black records, try Teenager of the Year or Dog in the Sand first.)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Herb Mallette on August 31, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Last year's "Dog in the Sand," while a good album, made me worried that Frank Black was losing steam. "Devil's Workshop" makes it clear that he isn't slowing down a bit. Frank and the Catholics mastered the art of recording straight to two-track several albums back, but by this album (and "Black Letter Days") Frank seems to have also mastered the art of writing music that's perfect for his stripped-down approach. The density and richness of the instrumentation are fabulous, and the lyrics include some of Black's best storytelling ever. (Though, as is often the case, it can be difficult to figure out what the storyline is until you've deciphered the songs. It took me quite a few listenings to grasp the setting for "His Kingly Cave," but once I did, the whole song clicked into place and made perfect sense.) The worst thing about this album is that it makes some of my previous Frank Black favorites, like "Pistolero," seem like mere warm-ups in comparison.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nathan M DeHoff on February 19, 2003
Format: Audio CD
In 2002, Frank Black released two albums on the same day: this and Black Letter Days. Of the two, I think this is the more easily accessible one. It tends to be more upbeat, and a lot of the songs are just catchy. To me, the pair of "Modern Age" and "Are You Heading My Way?" really shows off this catchiness. Perhaps the true highlight of the album, however, is the leading song, "Velvety." This song originally showed up as a Pixies B-side, but now it's a finished song, with lyrics reminiscent of "Velouria." From what I've heard, they're about a girl from the lost continent of Lemuria, who now lives under Mount Shasta near Weed, California. It's based on an old Rosicrucian legend, but you don't need to know that to enjoy the song. That's one thing I like about Frank's songs. The songs are enjoyable when the listener has no idea what the lyrics are about, but, if you enjoy doing a little research (and a little is really all it takes; the songs don't usually get into THAT much depth), there's some interesting stuff to find out. While Devil's Workshop isn't my favorite Frank album, it's a great showcase of his work.
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