Frank Black and the Catholics – Half Speed Master Review & Comparison

Frank Black and the Catholics
In the realm of rock music, certain albums stand as testaments to the raw, unfiltered essence of the genre. One such album is Frank Black and the Catholics’ self-titled debut, a record that captures the spontaneous energy of live recording. Now, Demon Records has reissued this seminal album in a 25th-anniversary half-speed mastered edition, offering fans a new way to experience this classic.

Recorded live to two-track tape over just two days, “Frank Black and the Catholics” was initially intended as a series of demos. However, Frank Black, known for his daring and unconventional approach, decided that these recordings couldn’t be improved upon and released them as they were. This decision marked the album as the first by a major artist to be commercially released on the Internet, a groundbreaking move at the time.

My journey into the world of Frank Black and the Catholics began in earnest in 2022 with the acquisition of the Frank Black complete studio albums box set. This collection, remastered from the original tapes, was seen as the definitive version of these records.

Fast forward to the present, and we have the 25th-anniversary edition of the debut album. This version, remastered at half speed from the original tapes is pressed on 180g heavyweight vinyl. The process of half-speed mastering is known to improve the accuracy of groove geometry and create an incredibly detailed stereo image with a natural high-frequency response.

Upon listening to this new edition, the difference is night and day. The album sounds wider, with more depth and warmth. There’s a newfound spaciousness that wasn’t as apparent in the original mix. It’s as if the music has been given room to breathe, allowing each instrument and vocal nuance to be heard more clearly.

For fans of Frank Black and the Catholics this release offers a fresh perspective on an album that was already celebrated for its rawness and authenticity. The half-speed mastering brings out nuances in the music that were previously obscured, making it a must-have for both long-time fans and newcomers to the band’s music.

Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine

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