All his ghosts

With a new album, Frank Black tries to live up to his own past

Seconds later, "All My Ghosts" kicks off with a punk-rock blast of guitar before suddenly downshifting into a gorgeous, mid-tempo pop-rock song; it's like a 100-yard dash being run by a couple of chain-smokers. "Do You Feel Bad About It?" rivals The Cult of Ray's "I Don't Want to Hurt You" as the best slice of pure pop that Black has ever served up. "I Gotta Move" is a greasy call-and-response burner that beats Rocket From The Crypt at its own game, and "Six Sixty-Six" is a '50s-style honky-tonky rocker that proves Black has a pair of cowboy boots somewhere in his closet.

Both on the phone and on the record, Black sounds revitalized by the last few years. He knows that this album probably won't sell more than a few thousand copies, and he doesn't care. It was a record he made for himself, and when he's ready to make another one, he will, whether there is a record company that will release it or not.

"It's the dream of rock," he says. "That's what keeps me going. It's more the dream of playing rock music. That's what I do, so I guess I'm not going to really stop doing it unless I become disinterested. How do I maintain interest? I don't know." He stops and considers this for a few seconds.

"I just like rock music, I guess.

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