Grand Duchy – Petit Fours

April 17, 2009

grandduchyGrand Duchy is husband and wife Black Francis (aka Frank Black aka Charles Thompson) and Violet Clark, and Petit Fours is their debut album. It’s pretty much a winner, 9 tracks of New Wave and 80’s inspired pop, heavy on the synthesizers, with a touch of the Pixies, especially on “Black Suit,” one of the album highlights. Clark’s vocals tend to recall the Pixies as well, as she can sound a lot like Kim Deal at times, though not to the point of distraction. Clark and Black Francis trade off on lead vocal duties, with Clark doing most of the singing, though Black Francis makes his presence known on every song just the same, either through his musical influence or his very cool, distinctive guitar playing throughout. I’m not sure if Grand Duchy will turn out to be a one off project or not, but it’s yielded a pretty enjoyable album, with some great tunes. Definitely worth a listen, for fans of Black Francis/Frank Black and the Pixies, and for fans of indie pop in general. Standout cuts: “Lovesick,” “Fort Wayne,” “Black Suit” and “Ermesinde.”


2 Responses to “Grand Duchy – Petit Fours”

  1. westmont Says:

    my question is always the same when it comes to mr. Frank Black and his music, would i give this band, this music a chance were it not headed up by the former pixies leader (former? looks like they are touring again or something, weird?)? My answer is always the same, probably not. Despite that, I listen and this release is actually kind of enjoyable. These two are married? another oddity. Ultimately, the songs are not horrible, they have an attitude Black is able to get away with and apparently Violet, since shes in a band with the guy. Nothing earth shattering, but hey, who the hell expects that anyway. Come On Over To My House is decent and predictable, The Long Song sounds like any other radio song, i think, which works in its favour. Not terribly interesting, not terrible though.

  2. radiondn Says:

    The Pixies are definitely touring this summer, though not sure any new material is on the horizon. Kim Deal released a new Breeders EP, but I haven’t heard it yet.

    I definitely liked this album more than you, or at least found it more interesting, I think, but your comments regarding his involvement and his solo work in general are well taken. I took Petit Fours to be an indie pop confection, nothing necessarily revolutionary, but a lot of fun to listen to. I did think Frank Black’s guitar added a very welcome edge to the proceedings.

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