The Pixies
Albums

  • Come On Pilgrim,
  • Surfer Rosa,
  • Doolittle,
  • Bossanova,
  • Trompe Le Monde,
  • Death To The Pixies,
  • Pixies At The BBC,
  • Complete B Sides,
  • EP1,
  • EP2,
  • Indie Cindy,

    The Pixies
    Relations

  • Frank Black,








  • adriandenning.co.uk
    album reviews

    The Pixies

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    Come On Pilgrim ( 1987 )
    Caribou / Vamos / Isla De Encanta / Ed Is Dead / The Holiday Song / Nimrod's Son / I've Been Tired / Levitate Me

    Charles Micheal Kitridge Thompson IV had met Filipino guitarist Joey Santiago whilst studying for a three year College course. When Kim Deal responded to an advert placed seeking a bassist into Husker Du and Peter, Paul and Mary it turned out nobody else had replied to the ad, so fortunately for her, she was in. Of course, not too many people were going to dig both Husker Du and Peter Paul And Mary, so in that respect, she was a perfect choice. She brought along David Lovering who had been a guest at her wedding reception. Charles christened himself Black Francis and the The Pixies recorded a 17 track demo which eventually found its way to 4AD records who issued eight of the songs straight from the demo tape as 'Come On Pilgrim'. Kim would be listed on the sleeve for 'Come On Pilgrim' as Mrs John Murphy, although that particular partnership wasn't to last. Anyway, history out of the way, how does 'Come On Pilgrim' fare these days? Well, we only get eight songs, so it makes sense to refer to this as a mini-album. But, blow me down if there isn't a single bad song amongst the eight! 'Caribou' opens the set immediately sounding fresh and original. It does in fact even some fifteen years on. There still isn't anything else quite like this marriage of bizarre lyrical imagery and soaring vocals rising to a near scream for the chorus when the guitars thrash away. It's a perfect opener in the respect it doesn't reveal everything about the group, in fact, it's rather vague but it still intrigues you and as I said, sounds fresh. 'Vamos' has some demented guitar work to match Black Francis lyrical work which mixes Spanish with English. Joey Santiago makes good use of feedback to propel his guitar into space and the rhythm is fast and insistent throughout. A fun song! As is 'Isla De Encanta' which features more Spanish / Mexican lyrics through a sub two minute guitar workout.

    And then? Well, The Pixies first stroke of genius for me isn't with any of the opening three songs which are atmospheric as hell, but not actually great pieces of composition or anything. But, things begin to fall into place with 'Ed Is Dead'. Charles and Joey combine on guitar, mentions of 'L.A. sun' in the lyrics and a vague surf guitar feeling with a wonderful melody. It's only two and half minutes long, but that's a perfect length. The song does everything it needs to within that time. Kim gets her first turn at singing backing vocals as well. 'The Holiday Song' is more thrashing guitars which slow down only to allow for the 'stomping' chorus. 'Nimrods Sun' would prove to be a durable concert favourite largely thanks to the lyric section 'you are the son of a motherfucker' which had crowds of fans singing along with glee. It may also have become a concert favourite because it's a damn fine track featuring an especially great vocal performance! 'I've Been Tired' opens so wonderfully well and it's also the first time we can really pick out notable bass and drum parts. The lyrics are as unusual and wonderful as ever with mentions of whores and Lou Reed. The second song of genius closes the set, although to be fair, several songs display signs of what was to come. But, 'Levitate Me' with it's rising and falling and rising again vocal parts bordering on the scream that would soon become a Pixies trademark. The guitar is damn fine as well, and this album some way to make an entrance.

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    Readers Comments

    Ki Ki D Donnanster@hotmail.com
    Although it has few tracks, and short songs, the songs are excellent, one which comes to mind being Levitate me, which was my favourite on the cd. I love the vocals and they are excellently matched to the music played. Come on Pilgrim has gotta get at least a 9!

    Ben Leach kingoftheeyesores1@yahoo.com
    Not to be the little hippie in the corner, but there is not a foul moment on this work. Holiday Song, Levitate Me and Ed is Dead. Ahh Redemption. I think that the energy on this disc is tough to match. Great stuff 9/10

    GAZZA
    Proof that the pixies talent was fully realised from the off . The local production team of smith/kolderie isnt too bad at all and it remains a well played introduction to the band . It bears comparison with the "purple tapes" demos from this period which shows that the pixies were much more of a collaboration with kim deal and black francis originally , her influence in the band reducing after surfer rosa. Apart from The version of "vamos" which is better on surfer rosa theres not much to quibble with - who can argue with "ed is dead" and "levitate me" ? The band played 3 songs from this on their recent comeback tour so it obviously still has meaning for them .


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    Surfer Rosa 8 ( 1988 )
    Bone Machine / Break My Body / Something Against You / Broken Face / Gigantic / River Euphrates / Where Is My Mind? / Cactus / Tony's Theme / Oh My Golly! / Vamos / I'm Amazed / Brick Is Red

    Enter Steve Albini for the first Pixies album proper. You'd expect the sound to be slightly richer than 'Come On Pilgrim' and it is, although the music doesn't show any progression at all from 'Come On Pilgrim' for the most part although a couple of the songs here do further propel the group forwards. Kim's vocals are more prominent, so that's another development. These days of course, following Kurt Cobain and others adoption of 'Surfer Rosa' as a classic breakthrough recording for alternative rock it seems 'Surfer Rosa' can do no wrong, and its place in history is well and truly assured. Thing is, 'Come On Pilgrim' had been poorly distributed but following the rabid reception from fans The Pixies were getting at live concerts 4AD decided to really push this thing. Well, as much as they could! So, 'Bone Machine' opens and for me isn't as great an opener as 'Caribou' and lacks much of a hook. The hook I suppose is when everything drops out musically to allow for Kim and Charles to duet 'your bone's got a little machine' but it's not really enough. Things do get better, 'Break My Body' is no a better a song than much of 'Come On Pilgrim' but the Steve Albini production here certainly helps. The rhythm section sound fantastic all of a sudden for one thing. 'Something Against You' has one of those distinctive Pixies guitar introductions that gets you smiling. When it meets the song proper everything is loud as hell and Black Francis screams the lyric to some effect. But, enjoyable as songs two and three are, they aren't really any sort of step forward from 'Come On Pilgrim'. I would say they are in fact worse songs but better productions, which I guess evens things out.

    'Broken Face' arrives, thrashes by, screams itself by. The better sound The Pixies were achieving, the more Black Francis was screaming. But then we get 'Gigantic' and suddenly everything falls into place. Co-written with Kim Deal she takes lead vocals, the bass is absolutely wonderful and The Pixies move light-years forwards with a properly structured song, a chorus, a 'gigantic' hook, and everything! 'River Euphrates' continues with the impressive sounding rhythm section, Kim sings backing vocals and this is another fine song. The second absolute pick of the bunch arrives with 'Where Is Your Mind'. The guitar reverts to reaching for the stars, Kim adds a haunting 'ooohhh ooooh' backing vocal that sounds like it's been beamed down from another planet altogether. The song reaches a peak with an explosion of controlled noise but just when you're expecting a thrash of guitars to end, The Pixies show restraint. It's a wonderful song, but does rather overshadow the rest of the album. Well, 'Cactus' is next and it sounds absolutely fantastic with it's bass groove and everything but doesn't have much else going for it. Again, the effect of the Steve Albini production is paramount. 'Tonys Theme' and 'Oh My Golly' are both brief guitar thrashes without much distinction, although, yet again - they sound okay. 'Vamos' is reprised from 'Come On Pilgrim' and re-recorded but never quite matches the original for some reason. 'I'm Amazed' is a brief but enjoyable piece of vocal screaming which leaves the intriguing 'Brick Is Red' to close. A piece of filler, but there's something interesting about the way the guitars are layered on this mostly instrumental song.

    So, 'Surfer Rosa'? When it was issued on CD it eventually got twinned with 'Come On Pilgrim' on the same disc, so history sometimes gets a little confused. If you add the highlights of 'Come On Pilgrim' to the highlights of 'Surfer Rosa' you really would have one of the finest albums ever made! As it is, for me, 'Surfer Rosa' even with the improved sound and production compensating, just isn't quite as enjoyable as 'Come On Pilgrim'. I'm sorry, but there you are.

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    Readers Comments

    James Anderton james.anderton@jhc.co.uk
    what a bollocks review - surfer rosa is easily the best pixies album - this was their quintessential sound - raw, powerful, direct - no fillers - just wicked song after wicked song - the only problem with it is come the end you just want more doolittle is great - but surfer rosa withstands the test of time better or am i talking out of my arse?

    Trevor Evans-Young Paradoxx75@msn.com
    I would definatly give surfer rosa a 10. in my opinion, every song on there is great and unique, and the order of the songs makes it flow and get you all excited at once. looking back, i think it is just a little above doolittle, because doolittle just had one or two songs that weren't as awesome as the others. yes, correct english is well. - Doxxman

    Claire functionvsasthetic@hotmail.com
    i have to disagree with your review of surfer rosa. this was the first pixies album i ever bought and it remains to be my favorite. there's not one song on there that isn't utterly enjoyable. further, how can you say it's not a masterpiece when it's been so influential to modern music as we know it? doolittle is an awesome album; i listen to it non-stop, but surfer rosa is raw, loud, pure perfection, no matter how the sound was achieved (extra mics in the drum set, etc..) nice site though. we all have our own tastes eh? : )

    o.hugues@wanadoo.fr
    I disagree with the other comments here above... I would have given a 9, but "Doolittle" is better than this first album.

    Ki Ki D Donnanster@hotmail.com
    Come on Pilgrim has its fine points, but, listening to Cactus, and such tracks as Where is My Mind, and River Euphrates, I have to say that Surfer Rosa is SO much better than Come on Pilgrim!

    christi razberry_moon@hotmail.com
    I picked up the album because I really liked the song Where Is My Mind, it really is one of my faveorite albums,a nd a good one to be introduced to the pixies in my opinion. It has different range but nothing to drastic, perfect for first-time listeners. Tame is a damn good song too!

    Goldfissh, daylessnight@hotmail.com
    I tend to disagree with everyone who says this is the pixies' best album... even though it's got some of my favourite stuff on it, like Where Is My Mind and Gigantic and stuff - the big ones, a lot of the songs just seem to mass together in a big fuzzy blur. And I always thought this was the least quiet of their albums, it all seems too... light. I'm assuming that's the much-praised Albini production, not the songs.

    Mike Harrison cathairball5000@yahoo.com
    The best Pixies album I've heard so far. I think the "thrashing sound" that Adrian referred to is part of the fun of the album, not really a detriment. Marry that to some good melodies and some raw production, and I think that's a damn good combination for an album that hits pretty damn hard without the bombast that ruined a lot of late 80s acts, regardless of the genre. It's really a "hard pop" album, and I think there weren't too many bands that could pull off "hard pop" back then, with the exception of REM and a few others. The difference with the Pixies, at least on this album, was that they were willing to try some outrageous things that worked in their favor: Frank Black's whiny vocals are a bit disconcerting......."Something Against You" is almost a din, but surf-punk rarely sounded so ferocious......the stop-start feel of "Brick Is Red" was pretty unusual for an alternative act. Plus, I'm in love with Kim Deal, so the fact that she's prominent on this album mak! es it okay. I'd give it a 9 & 1/2: "Where Is My Mind" has some cool production, but it really doesn't go anywhere for me.

    Gosh Darn wimsywoo@hotmail.com
    You seem to have a bias for Come On Pilgrim, probably because it is easier to digest than Surfer Rosa. Vamos on Surfer Rosa is far better. Frank's personality is ablaze on the SR version. Why would the band do another version in the first place? CoP is so very short, its merely a tease. Surfer Rosa is the real Pixies meat - 9½/10.

    martyn flowers4000@hotmail.com
    surfer rosa is a classic... the incredible drum sound, catchy pop songs, originality and overall sound make it undeniably influential and brilliant... i cant separate it from doolittle, which is also a 10/10 ...personal favourites include break my body, gigantic, river euphrates and brick is red

    Ben Leach kingoftheeyesores1@yahoo.com
    OH My, What sound, Dense, thick and grundgy. My God. It sounds like Albini had these guys playing with quarters for picks. Its great from front to back and is really one of the more overlooked albums of our time. Great Record 9.5/10

    Gazza
    Its a brilliant album all right , not even albinis dryer than the sahara production can detract from that . The mass of guitars that take over "gigantic" towards the end is genuinely thrilling and "where is my mind" "cactus" and " brick is red" are everything indie rock should be .Original and thrilling .9/10


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    Doolittle 10 ( 1989 )
    Debaser / Tame / Wave Of Mutilation / I Bleed / Here Comes Your Man / Dead / Monkey Gone To Heaven / Mr. Grieves / Crackity Jones / La La Love You / No. 13 Baby / There Goes My Gun / Hey / Silver / Gouge Away

    Kim wanted to retain the Steve Albini production but Charles didn't, so we get Gil Norton producing this album. But, it works. This is a more assured collection of songs than 'Surfer Rosa' or 'Come On Pilgrim' but the group do retain elements of 'Surfer Rosa', just add to them as well, that's all. 'Debaser' is the quintessential sound of The Pixies in full-flight, the one song that springs to the mind of many fans if forced to choose just one song to represent the group. This is switching between quiet and loud but done so much more dramatically than anything they'd done before. Black Francis sounds positively inspired and screams for all he's worth, Kim adds the usual sweeter backing harmonies. Instrumentally, 'Debaser' is faultless. It's a classic Pixies song. 'Tame' following on from 'Debaser' where the switching between quiet and loud is even more pronounced and the Black Francis scream becomes so impassioned it's almost scary, is a stroke of genius. Nobody else has ever given a vocal performance quite like this that I can recall. It's a wonder he could even speak after recording it. And, things get even better when the poppy 'Wave Of Mutilation' arrives and the sequencing is just so perfect. The surf guitars, the mellow vocals, the lyrics.... 'drive my car into the ocean, you think I'm dead....'

    'I Bleed' opens with very deep bass notes, Joeys guitar arrives, the lyrics and vocal performance are both wonderful and inspired and the guitars through the chorus classic Pixies guitars. 'Here Comes Your Man' is more surf guitar but this time married to an even better song, a pop song? Yeah, you could call it that. Had The Pixies had enough of a public profile at the time, this could have been a huge hit for them. It's just a sunny, sweet and joyous song that adds further variety to 'Doolittle' which is already their most varied album at this stage, but still manages to somehow retain a common sound. That's the best way, the best combination of things. 'Dead' is great to sing along with (?!) and the bass guitar is again notable here. 'Monkey Gone To Heaven' is perhaps the best known Pixies song, and still sends chills down my spine with it's use of Cello and Violin, and seemingly touching lyrics that fail to make any sense. It matters not one single iota, this is a truly beautiful song. 'Mr Grieves' entertainingly opens the second side of the record with a little Kinks 'Dead End Street' descending bass line, mixed in with a single riff and a half laughing, half stuttering vocal. It becomes another distinctive Pixies song introduction. Happily, the rest of the song is even better with sparkling guitars and another beautiful yet powerful vocal performance. 'Crackity Jones' restores the demented guitars and trashing exactly when the album needed it. This is as exhilarating and raw as anything from the first two albums. And then? Drummer Dave Lovering gets to sing a song! It's not the best song on 'Doolittle' I guess, and he does struggle slightly with the vocals but it's just his voice is so deep and crooning, it's just hilariously funny. Matched with a classic Pixies semi-surf guitar strum, wonderful sounding guitars - and you have something that becomes a work of perhaps unintended genius, but genius all the same. Genius? I've used that word before on this page. The Pixies are the kind of group people sometimes reserve for that word, and 'Doolittle' of all their albums is the one that showcases their full range of achievements and styles.

    'No 13 Baby' may initially sound to you like a reprise of 'the sound of doolittle' and true enough, this isn't as startling a song as much else of what's here, but...... the strummed guitar and Charles off in the distance vocal through the quieter sections are a joy all the same. It's still a mighty fine song in my book, with some entertaining Joey guitar notable in particular. 'There Goes My Gun' is a throwback structurally to 'Surfer Rosa' or 'Come On Pilgrim' but Kim sounds wonderful here on Bass and vocals, and each group member takes a turn to sing a line of the lyric, 'friend or foe', which is fun. 'Hey' opens with a spine chillingly beautiful vocal. Equally as beautiful restrained guitars come in. 'Whore in my bed, BUT HEY!' sings Black Francis, as well he might. 'We're chained....' continues the lyric, the guitar soars - another beautiful moment on an album full of them. 'Silver' features a dual lead vocal from Kim and Frank as well as Slide guitar which works astonishing well in giving the song a truly timeless feel. 'Gouge Away' finishes things off with more stupendous vocal screaming. A powerful song to close an utterly listenable album that really does have it all.

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    Mark Stephens markstephens1@btopenworld.com
    I have never enjoyed this one as much as everyone else seems to. That might be me, of course, but I think most of the second side is weak - with the exception of Hey which is a work of celestial genius. Come on pilgrim is the one, I reckon.

    o.hugues@wanadoo.fr
    I totally agree, "Doolittle" is a perfection. The funny thing is that the big hit was "Monkey Gone To Heaven", and I think this is my least favorite song of the album.

    Todd C. Zino me@toddzino.com
    You spend 3 paragraphs dissecting this one on a blow-by-blow and fail to even mention "La La Love You", which is the most surreal and beautiful sub-three minutes the band ever had? Black sounds like Morrissey from outer space on this one. I got one of these review sites forthcoming, and archives like yours are an inspiration. Good Top 100 list, if a bit heavy on the brit/guitar pop end of things. Felt are far too underappreciated.

    Fredrik Gierløff fredrikg@kjekkas.net
    A comment to a comment on Doolittle. "Black sounds like Morrissey from outer space on this one. ", it is said. Look at the album sleeves, it is not Black that sings. Think for yourself, question authority!

    pete gill petegill@activemail.co.uk
    i think come on pilgrim is the best album i have ever heard by a million miles but for sheer absolute blow you off your head music nothing touches Tame

    quagmire giggitygiggityoright@hotmail.com
    hello. yes i agree that doolittle is an excellent album. i thouroughly enjoy debaser, tame, wave of mutilation, bleed , here comes ur man, ..., monkey gone to heaven,

    Jonathan Nexus3099@netscape.net
    Doolittle was by far the pixies best album. It was the first album since Pink Floyd's Darkside of the moon that I could actually listen to all the tracks and enjoy them. The only song I don't care for would have to be Tame. Other than that the album is perfect and I will listen to it for years to come.

    historicrocker historicrocker@aol.com
    Oh, so what do we have here? This is the most spectacular work of genius. There isn't a single weak song I can think of in all honesty. But I can easily pick ot the best songs. People may not agree but Hey anyone?! That is incredible. Yes, La La Love You is surreal genius as well... as pointed out by someone up above this comment. And I can't help but wondering at the lyrics of Gouge Away. They probably are meaningless but I do wonder. Oh yes, Gouge Away rocks more than Debaser ever will. And it has this sort of epic quality to it that Debaser won't ever have. Although I have no doubts that Debaser is also an incredible song, it's only third to Monkey Gone To Heaven and Gouge Away... now I've upset some people haven't I?

    Lisa Burns burnsyaus@hotmail.com
    I think No 13 Baby is probably the bands greatest song. This album is a little overrated these days but there are some absolute corker tracks. Greatest album still Surfer Rosa for mine, but they are all pretty amazing.

    Gazza garyhess44@hotmail.com
    What a great move ditching albini for gil norton was ! Contrast the sound here with surfer rosa - the bass booms and groans , the drum sound is punchy and terrific . The guitars are crisp and powerful . Its such a great sounding record, and this helped the band hugely to get airplay . although personally i prefer bossanova and think doolittle a tad overrated. What an original band the pixies were - like the smiths its hard to find any comparison points with such a unique band . They could do indie rock anthems like no other but with a real melodic pop element to . lyrically the guys obsessed with sex,death and religion LOL . "dead" is such an amazing track with those slaveship drums and distorted melody then suddenly exploding all over the stereo . "tame" shows francis to be the best screamer since lennon . The 2 singles are so infectous and "hey" is an incredible track . disturbing and playful in equal measure . The band were awesome on their reunion tour but as! yet have decided not to record a follow up album . It would have to be some record to stand alongside earlier creations like doolittle.


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    Bossanova 9 ( 1990 )
    Cecilia Ann / Rock Music / Velouria / Allison / Is She Weird / Ana / All Over The World / Dig For Fire / Down To The Well / The Happening / Blown Away / Hang Wire / Stormy Weather / Havalina

    The Pixies sound different here. The bass is less prominent, Kim is less prominent full stop actually, although she does make important contributions. This is very much a Black Francis song-writing showcase, and a Joey Santiago guitar playing showcase! Take 'Cecilia Ann' for example, a fast Surf-Rock guitar instrumental to open. And then the second song is called 'Rock Music', and two tracks in manages to be one of the heaviest songs on the entire album. Charles is screaming but his vocals are slightly buried, but it hardly matters when the guitars are as heavy and great as they are. And then 'Velouria', a stunningly weird sci-fi pop song, a twisted love song, a song that means nothing at all? It's just a damn fine song with lots of melody, Kim on support vocals and more great guitar. It was said The Pixies had gone 'soft' with 'Bossanova' by certain critics. I can't see that myself. Well, sure, this record lacks any screaming as loud or aggressive as 'Tame'. It lacks the raw edge of 'Come On Pilgrim'. But, there are plenty of aggressive guitar parts here, even with the seemingly more commercial melodies of a 'Velouria'. 'Allison' may be one of the best one minute seventeen second long songs ever written! 'Is She Weird' is suitably 'weird' I suppose, and also totally brilliant. The guitars are again to the fore, bass guitar too for this number and the vocals are more the demented Pixies vocals of old. But, do we even want 'demented' Pixies when we can have utterly beautiful Pixies, such as 'Ana' or 'All Over The World'. 'Ana' is truly beautiful with Surf style guitar and very pretty and soft vocals. 'All Over The World' is something of an epic by Pixies standards, topping the five minute mark. It progresses through various sections actually, contains some great sounding guitar and vocal parts throughout. It's a song with a different structure than anything they'd done before and shows Black Francis trying to experiment with the music of The Pixies and not become stagnated too much within a particular style

    'Dig For Fire' opens with one of those patented distinctive Pixies guitar introductions, moves into a fairly strong chorus but never quite takes off in the manner it sometimes threatens to. 'Down To The Well' features a more aggressive vocal performance, 'The Happening' even more so, Charles screams the vocals out but then we have softer, beautiful vocal and guitar passages. It's a wonderful work of contrast, and yeah, the softer guitars really do sound wonderful and hauntingly beautiful. 'Blown Away' is more standard fare by Pixies standards, but still a strong piece of work by anybody else's. 'Hang Wire' gets to grips with itself with some impressive guitar, both lead and bass - a great sound. 'Stormy Weather' is a favourite of mine, I don't quite know why, just something about the weariness in the vocal performance added to the guitar sounds. 'Havalina' is another beautiful softer surf guitar influenced instrumental track. The vocals here are brief but the echo added to them works very well. Although 'Bossanova' probably is a step down from 'Doolittle' as far as the sheer impressiveness of the sound is concerned, there is something addictive about this, a special atmosphere surrounding it. OK, so that's not exactly something tangible, and will most likely differ person to person. What's more solid than some fanciful romantic atmosphere are the songs themselves. They are nearly all great, and 'Bossanova' ultimately is another special Pixies record. <

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    Neal Grosvenor neagr@xchg.medisys.ca
    This was the first Pixies album I bought and remains my favourite. It was quite refreshing to my sixteen-year old ears the first time I listened to it, and I didn't know quite what to make of it at the time. Was it heavy metal? Surf music? Dig For Fire and Blown Away are my favourite songs, although Rock Music always seems to make me laugh, just because Black Francis seems to be totally making fun of all the "hair metal" that was predominant at the time. What the hell is he screaming? Is it "C'mon c'mon..all the way to go.." The lyrics are about as dumb-ass as Louie Louie, but god, what a great record. A definite 10 in my books

    Trevor Evans-Young Paradoxx75@msn.com
    i would give bossanova a nine 1/2, simpliy becuase the first 11 songs are flawless. "the happening" is the pixies best song ever, in my opinion. the last three, including the lamest song on there(no offense) "stromy weather", just are not quite as good as the rest. - Doxxman

    Mark Evans markphilipevans@hotmail.com
    Have to disagree. This is easily the Pixies weakest release since Come on Pilgrim. 'Velouria' and 'The Happening' provide the album's only moments of real brilliance. Otherwise the songwriting is often below par. With the exception of 'The Happening' side 2 is very weak. 'Hang Wire' and 'Blown Away' are both lame rockers that sound out of place while 'Stormy Weather' is a contender for the worst ever Pixies song. Still overall it's not a bad album just not in the same league as the previous two or Trompe Le Monde. 7/10

    Mike Harrison cathairball5000@yahoo.com
    I have to disagree; this is definitely the weakest Pixies album that I've heard so far. Frank Black's songwriting isn't as far-out as his work on SURFER ROSA, and he sounds like he's too tired to muster much of a performance. Actually, all the performaces are slow and restrained compared to the stuff on SURFER ROSA & DOOLITTLE. I keep waiting for something like a "Bone Machine" or "Break My Body," something that's melodic AND devastating at the same time. And where's Kim Deal? I also think this album's sound is too polished. There's some neat "alternative surf music" here & there, though. Some of the melodies are pretty well done, too. It proves that Black is capable of some fine sounds even if the collective whole of an album falls flat. I'd rate it a 7, at best.

    gazza garyhess44@hotmail.com
    My favourite pixies album sandwiched between the overrated doolittle and the frankly lousy trompe le monde. ana is a thing of wonder for sure , alison is incredibly catchy , and the surf guitar element works really well . Elements of talking heads at their rockiest on all over the world and dig for fire . Great sounding record 9/10


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    Trompe Le Monde ( 1991 )
    Trompe Le Monde / Planet Of Sound / Alec Eiffel / Sad Punk / Head On / U-Mass / Palace Of The Brine / Letter To Memphis / Bird Dream Of The Olympus Mons / Space (I Believe In) / Subbacultcha / Distance Equals Rate Times Time / Lovely Day / Motorway To Roswell / The Navajo Know

    My, what an awesome album! The sound may seem slightly 'murky' in places, but that's all that really prevents this acheiving the same perfect grade 'Doolittle' achieved. There were tensions within the group, Charles ( Black Francis ) worked in the studio with producer Gil Norton around the clock, worked harder on this album than he had any other, to ensure it's quality in the face of estrangement between Kim and himself and the lack of a unified band firing on all cylinders. So, lots of guitar!! Lots of aggression, particularly through second song and all time Pixies classic 'Planet Of Sound'. Got to love Joeys guitar through the middle especially. And then Black Francis screams for all he's worth as the song closes with a thud. 'Alec Eiffel' arrives next with the by now classic Pixies strummed duel guitar sound of Charles and Joey together. The melody throughout the song is strong, the ending sequence of the song which works in former Captain Beefheart man Eric Drew Feldman's keyboard parts is truly beautiful, so much so, it makes me cry more often than not. 'Sad Punk' is another piece of aggression switching to beautiful mellow vocals and guitars to close. 'Head On' is a cover of a Jesus And The Mary Chain song. It's been performed here perfectly well, but lacks the character of The Pixies own songs. The screaming returns for 'U-Mass' which is an entertainingly dumb sounding ROCK AND ROLL SONG!! Good grief, why the hell did The Pixies never break through REALLY BIG!!! Two short but beautiful guitar songs close the first half of the album, both songs featuring great vocal performances.

    'Bird Dream Of Olympus Mons' is a piece of genius, a trip into space with a tear in the eye, admiring the landscape and mountains on the moon. A love song, of sorts. 'Space' has guitars absolutely everywhere, heavy as hell. 'SubbaCultcha' all sorts of weird lyrics amid a heavy grinding guitar rhythm. Yeah, it's good, and you can also hear Kim on backing vocals. 'Distance Equals Rate Times Time' isn't any kind of song I suppose, but The Pixies just had such a great sound it could transform almost anything by this stage. 'Lovely Day' works here on 'Trompe Le Monde' in a similar fashion for me to 'Stormy Weather' from 'Bossanova'. This is the sunny counterpart to 'Stormy Weather'! 'The Navajo Know' is a strange thing, weird sounds abound and a rhythm that almost sounds like a slowed down Ska group. It works totally on the album, because it follows the emotionally exhausting and utterly beautiful 'Motorway To Rosswell' with it's evocative musical and lyrical content. Of course, we wanted more. We all wanted more music from The Pixies ( well, I did! ) but leaving the way they did? They never made a bad record. They never descended into following fashions and 'Trompe Le Monde' is as fine a way to close a career as could be imagined.

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    Readers Comments

    CountPsychocandy@aol.com
    Trompe Lemonde rocks! Powerful,fierce melodies and totally unpredictable. Still to this day hypes me up real "Horrorshow".Favorite songs are "Planet Of Sound","Alec Eiffel","Motorway To Roswell",and "The Sad Punk. Great album for anyone that digs a relentless uncomprimising musical assault,a skateboarder's classic.

    hatchy hatchking@hotmail.com
    Planet of sound is truly one of the greatest songs to have ever graced my stereo. It is what I would class as a MEGA-song (TM). Even if the rest of the songs were wank (which they most definitely are not!) I would still recommend this album to everyone just to hear Planet of Sound. I think 9 and a half is a tad harsh. I can't believe Trompe only got to 31st in your top 100.

    jan jan@ide.co.za
    the album of the nineties. 12/10. the "underwater" quality of the sound in places just adds to its appeal. With this album pixies demonstrates the same chameleon-like qualities of other great bands like U2 in continuously creating new, totally different from before albums. Think of the Doolittle to Trompe le Monde progression in the same way as U2's Rattle & Hum to Achtung Baby

    Andrew Mich andrewkylie@hotmail.com
    Its so great!! Nay! Fantastic!! to read that what I've always strongly considered & argued was the Pixies best work, is finally getting reviews like this all over the place. I always loved this album the most. And I loved "Doolittle"to death. It was the only one I had a tape made of, & kept in car at all times. I used to play Subbaculcha loud on those big party Saturday nights driving to my hot spot. I'd walk into parties humming "I was all dressed in black, she was all dressed up in black",with my wife under my arm abusing my fanboy tendencies. But,hey!! at least I don't carry frikkin-mini--mirrors in my wallet. I know I troubled the girl so. Pixies & Tom Waits & Nick Cave everywhere we went. Yes!! this album is divine to me & the missus has grown to appreciate its more "poppy" moments. "Motorway to Roswell" is a serious Leviticously Deutoronomously Audascious track.

    Ben Leach kingoftheeyesores1@yahoo.com
    Trompe Le Monde Is the stuff of legend. A Fantastic album that is entirly overlooked. The best Pixies Album in my mind. The opener gives me chills everytime i listin to it. Planet Of sound is amazing. The Chorus is so heavy. Its amazing. Letter to Memphis is pure genius. Motorway to Roswell Is probly the climax of this album. A amazing, amazing song. So pretty. and the Navajo Know is brilliant. A purly great song. ITs fun to listin to Come on pilgram then listin to this album. It shows how they change as a group. BEst Pixies album. 10/10

    S Drawk Cab certgraph@gmail.com
    A note on "Distance Equals Rate Equals Time": This 3-chord song was originally the 'chorus' of the first version of "Subbacultcha", which can be heard on the Purple Tape. That version of Subbacultcha sounds better IMO (more Deal vocals) but the hysterical-sounding lyrics and vocals of "Distance Equals Rate Equals Time" in Trompe Le Monde sounds better than what the Purple Tapes' Subbacultcha chorus.

    Johnny Canada ilikegrapes528@hotmail.com
    My personal favorite Pixies album. The guitars, the production, the songs, as good as it gets by anybody, anywhere. Doolittle is also an absolute cracker. Too bad Frank's gone all hokey pokey on us.

    Dave daveoneal@hotmail.com
    When I heard the first songs off of this album, I had to jump out of my chair while fighting euphoria back. Excellent. I went out and bought every other Pixies album and collection. They are all really good. You are right, they've never made an album that's less than damn good. They are great live, although they play Doolittle too much

    GAZZA
    The last gasps of a great rock n roll band and i think the decline was beginning to show a little . "bossanova" and "doolittle" were flawless song sequences for me but this one could have dropped 2 or 3 tunes (including the pointless mary chain cover) and been sequenced a bit better too . Its grown a bit on me over the years and it boasts brilliantly produced sounds but i was dissapointed at its time of release and i still think its the pixies weakest album .


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    Death To The Pixies 7 ( 1997 )
    1)Cecilia Ann 2)Planet Of Sound 3)Tame 4)Here Comes Your Man 5)Debaser 6)Wave Of Mutilation 7)Dig For Fire 8)Caribou 9)Holiday Song 10)Nimrod's Son 11)U-Mass 12)Bone Machine 13)Gigantic 14)Where Is My Mind 15)Velouria 16)Gouge Away 17)Monkey Gone To Heaven 18)Debaser 19)Rock Music 20)Broken Face 21)Isla De Encanta 22)Hangwire 23)Dead 24)Into The White 25)Monkey Gone To Heaven 26)Gouge Away 27)Here Comes Your Man 28)Allison 29)Hey 30)Gigantic 31)Crackity Jones 32)Something Against You 33)Tame 34)Wave Of Mutilation 35)Where Is My Mind? 36)Ed Is Dead 37)Vamos 38)Tony's Theme

    If you get this compilation, please try to get the full 2CD version. The second CD is a live set, which is the entire reason I bought this! 'The Best Of' side is ordered in seemingly random order, plays it safe and makes a lousy introduction to the music of The Pixies. If that's what you're looking for, get one of the albums proper instead. If you're a fan, the question will be, 'is the live disc worth getting'? Well, The Pixies had a tremendous live reputation. The sheer power they possessed on stage, factor in the screaming of a fat bloke wearing a lumberjack shirt, and there you have it! 'Debaser' predictably opens, but then, it's the perfect opener of any set I'd have thought. Well, maybe not perfect to open a Kylie Minogue set, but you get my meaning! 'Rock Music' is performed especially well, all the songs from 'Surfer Rosa' and 'Come On Pilgrim' sound very well practised - 'Broken Face' rules in particular, 'Hangwire' from 'Bossanova' sounds just as great as well, actually. The little known Kim Deal song 'Into The White' gets an airing, and sounds like a future Breeders, perhaps not surprisingly. 'Monkey Gone To Heaven' is given a very obligitory run through, Charles sounding utterly bored with the song, 'Allison', 'Vamos' and 'Tame' are all highlights. The Pixies haven't really played around with the structure of these songs. Bar a slower 'Wave Of Mutilation' there are few surprises, and listening to this album I suspect you just had to be there. Oh, well.

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    Pixies At The BBC 7 ( 1998 )
    1)Wild Honey Pie 2)There Goes My Gun 3)Dead 4)Subbacultcha 5)Manta Ray 6)Is She Weird 7)Ana 8)Down To The Well 9)Wave Of Mutilation 10)Letter To Memphis 11)Levitate Me 12)Caribou 13)Monkey Gone To Heaven 14)Hey 15)(In Heaven)

    4AD records continue to get a few more pennies from their golden boys ( and girl ). There are a couple of genuine rarieties here, though. Well, one. 'Wild Honey Pie' is indeed The Beatles song and The Pixies version has Charles shouting and screaming for all he's worth over some impressively thrashing guitar work. And, that's pretty much it. 'There Goes My Gun' was taken from a 1988 radio session which places the song alongside the 'Come On Pilgrim' and 'Surfer Rosa' material. Indeed, the track is taken in very much a 'Come On Pilgrim' fashion. A similary early version of 'Dead' is interesting listening, but neither of these two versions are as good as the recordings that wound up on 'Doolittle'. In contrast, the 'Trompe Le Monde' material here sounds slightly better, 'Subbacultcha' in particular being as raw and unhinged as anything in the groups catalogue. 'Is She Weird' sounds very bare and misses the 'Bossanova' production. The highlights here for me, on this mostly unnessecary compilation, are a wonderful sounding 'Letter To Memphis' and the closing 'In Heaven', which joins 'Wild Honey Pie' in being the only track here where Black Francis really gives the vocals his all.

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    Complete B Sides ( 2000 )
    1)River Euphrates 2)Vamos (Live) 3)In Heaven (Lady In The Radiator) 4)Manta Ray 5)Weird At My School 6)Dancing The Manta Ray 7)Wave Of Mutilation (Uk Surf) 8)Into The White 9)Bailey's Walk 10)Make Believe 11)I've Been Waiting For You 12)The Thing 13)Velvety Instrumental Version 14)Winterlong 15)Santo 16)Theme From Narc 17)Build High 18)Evil Hearted You 19)Letter To Memphis

    Now this, was the compilation everyone was crying out for! It rounds up all of The Pixies B-Side releases, thus enabling a fan to get hold of everything they officially released. 'River Euphrates' is a re-recording of the 'Surfer Rosa' song that actually manages to improve upon the original by some degree. Live versions of 'Vamos' and 'In Heaven' are not essential, neither is the instrumental 'Letter To Memphis' which closes this album. But, there are a few b-sides here which match the songs on the albums regular. 'Manta Ray' is a joy from 1989, 'Weird At My School' appropriately titled as the guitars go all over the place ( in a good way ). David Lovering sings lead on 'Make Believe', a 'Bossanova' era b-side. It's not as 'great' as his 'La La Love You' lead, though. 'I've Been Waiting For You' was the b-side on the 7" single of 'Velouria', the first Pixies record I ever bought. I always had a soft spot for this Kim Deal led Neil Young cover, it's a nice song. 'The Thing' is a re-mixed and extended 'The Happening' outro given new words. That description doesn't sound like much of anything, but surprisingly, this is a highlight here, absolutely beautiful guitar sound and Charles singing mysteriously and softly over the top. Another Neil Young cover arrives with 'Winterlong', I guess Charles was a fan, and yeah - it's another nice song! 'Theme From Narc' is a cover of a computer game theme tune given the very best demented Pixies noise treatment. Thus, it's a total delight! There are other lesser b-sides here of couse, after all, Black Francis and The Pixies were only human.

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    PIXIES Reintroduction

    Charles tried to write songs for the Pixies a few times, but the other members of the band were not terribly impressed, correctly sensing they were not 'Pixies' songs. A couple of solo albums came out, not under the Frank Black moniker, but the Black Francis name all the Pixies tunes on their classic albums had under the writing credits. Even looking at Pixies reunion tours- documentaries made - Charles never always seemed in 'Pixies mode' more until recently, even if all the shows were rapturously received. Thing is, what were they exactly trying to reach with new material? All four Pixies albums proper sounded entirely different to each other, any new songs written and performed by the Pixies would need to both keep the quality and essence of the band yet also reach a new dimension somehow, a new sonic or stylistic place.

    Pixies deserve every penny from their reunion tours between 2004 and 2012 before Kim's departure from the band, seemingly permanently. Well, Pixies were and are one of the most influential bands of all time, yet only sold a fraction of the records Nirvana and the many grunge bands did almost as soon as Pixies untimely original demise back in 1993. Frank/Charles/Black released lots of solo albums that were often fantastic, yet they never sonically matched the Pixies power, Kim did Breeders and sold lots of copies of the 2nd Breeders record, she seemed to have more of Pixies sound down, but didn't have the material, arguably. So, you needed Kim and Frank back together yeah? Kim left Pixies and two weeks later they released their first new material with the free download 'Bagboy', even if over 15,000 paid downloads were still made from itunes within day(s) despite the free status from official Pixies sources.

    So, new material and for those hankering back to 'Come On Pilgrim', 'Surfer Rosa' or 'Doolittle' - forget it. The tensions between Frank and Kim started with 'Doolittle' and he didn't want her songs on the record, but it's clear she still contributed creatively where she could. 'Bossanova' and 'Trompe Le Monde' I always felt had little Kim influence creatively, and both are still routinely hailed as alternative rock classics. So yes, the new material is like latter Pixies, not early Pixies yet 'Bagboy', the first new song released remains something of an enigma, seemingly coming from the same Gil Norton album-length sessions, but clearly sounding nothing at all like the rest of the material. 'Bagboy' in many ways was the perfect way to re-launch the Pixies - it reminds you of all of their trademarks yet sounds modern at the same time, well, modern in terms of if the band had never broke up - what you would imagine them to sound like twenty-four years later. Well, far better in fact, how many bands remain vital and relevant twenty-four years after their peak, anyway?

    Oh, before I progress, i've digressed more than enough - watch the documentary loudQUITEloud, each Pixie seems totally disfunctional in their own unique ways as human beings. You sense, they need to do this, bad reviews be damned. I fell in love with Pixies when I saw the video for 'Velouria' on a BBC 2 marginalised music show. Terribly indie, british lo-fi video from the band from Boston, yet a pop song, out-and-out pop song, with weird semi romantic lyrics all played by a rock band? Wisdom states Pixies influential material was all behind them by that stage, yet i'd never heard the like before. If I had, it hadn't been done so very well - it's still my favourite Pixies song to this day, even if objectively you could concede it might not be their most popular - haha. EP1 has four new songs, as does EP2, and 'Bagboy', although completed at the same Gil Norton led recording sessions has its origins sometime before then, it seems.

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    EP 1 ( 2013 )

    'Bagboy' emerged then to some fanfare and applause, so naturally, the first set of new songs the Pixies release opens with a soft, spacey ballad containing few, or no, Pixies trademarks. Much like the second half of Pixies albums of old however, this really digs under your skin after five or six listens, it's such a simple little tune but given plenty of air to reside in and comes across, complete with Spanish/Mexican section, exactly how you might imagine a 21st century Pixies that simply moved on in the meantime. 'Another Toe' on the other hand has split Pixies fans somewhat and me too, it's a good tune but the mixing and production are terrible, the band sound subdued in terms of playing and the answer apparently was to turn all the mixing desk 'knobs' up so everything sounds fuzzy and overdone as a result - nice harmonies along the way mind you, vocally and musically. It's a poppier Pixies moment and with a better mix could have been a contender!

    If 'Bagboy' either impressed or surprised you, or both, 'Indie Cindy' is pure Pixie alternative indie pop/rock - it's got menacing, Charles swears then even more disturbingly talks about curdles milk and putting 'the cock in cocktail' before a classic and classy slower, softer Pixies element comes through - ah, that romantic Pixies in a boat sailing on a the Venice (or marsian?) canals type of moment! Naturally, it then switches back the Joey proves that Nirvana might have made all the money the Pixies never did, but that he's a guitarist that plugs the music of Pixies to that other dimension, that really glues them together. Ah, Black Francis/Charles/Frank on acoustic just strumming, always went beautifully together with Joey's guitar.

    So, to 'Trompe Le Monde' for inspiration for the wonderful 'What Goes Boom' a metallic number that in a nice touch mentions 'grace' and 'carrying her bass', for reasons we perhaps not best delve into, but what a tune turned up loud! It encapsulates everything I love and ever did love about the band, a loud, twisting aggressive guitar tune moves into some lovely feminine (kim didn't do them, before you ask, a bloke did!) backing harmonies before Joey twists his guitar back into knots and Charles sings with some intent. Overall, you might dismiss these new tunes and the Pixies return as fairly meaningless events and 'not as good as they used to be', however when every single Pixies record ever came out, it always took time to adjust to what they were doing now, as opposed to then. With 'Andro Queen', 'Indie Cindy' and 'What Goes Boom' we hae three great new Pixies songs, we really do. You can't write 'Debaser' or 'Where Is My Mind?' every time out, the Pixies themselves never did after all, did they?

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    EP 2 ( 2014 )

    If you ever wanted to know what AC/DC crossed with Pixies sounds like, welcome to the world of 'Blue Eyed Hexe', a song Charles states is about the North-West region of the UK and is a 'witch-woman' kind of song. We open with wild guitar sounds and then the heavy, steady hard-rock beat of David Lovering on drums before Charles sings about his 'Blue Eyed Hexe', getting in on the screaming of Pixies yore in the process. Compare this to a Frank Black solo tune like 'Seus' and you can see the similarities, but with Joey on the guitar and the heavy drum sound all meshing perfectly - out pops a wonderful slice of Pixies rock. David Lovering, never one of the worlds most proficient drummers when he started out, but he's gotten over personal issues etc, just fits Pixies like a glove - without Kim his importance to the band cannot be overstated.'Magdalena' is a part of the over-riding concept of these new Pixies songs - apparently encouraged by producer Gil Norton, Charles took to the idea the band had left planet earth and come back after twenty years without any knowledge of what had happened in the meantime - 'be yourselves' was the advice, basically. 'Magdalena' is therefore a lovely, shimmering 'Bossanova' softer tune with plenty of guitar atmospherics along the way.

    Whilst Charles has described 'Greens And Blues' as a potential replacement for 'Gigantic' in terms of set-closers ('Bagboy' might be more fitting now, after more than 1 million youtube views) it reminds me of the poppier moments from 'Doolittle' albeit filtered through a Charles/Frank Black solo lens - it's less Pixies in terms of sound, although Joey, a restrained Joey - still cannot help but sound like a Pixie. It's a song to play to the detractors - one's who never warmed to Pixies first time around. 'Greens And Blues' might never cement a status in the 'alternative rock' canon, yet it's a real song and demonstrates perhaps what Frank Black learned throughout all those 'commercially lean' solo years. 'Snakes' benfits hugely from Joey, he just has to push whatever boundaries are given to him, doesn't he? It's a fairly straight slice of alt-rock, yet Joey comes up with some wonderful guitar parts, utterly distinctive yet this time, sounding little like Pixies of old - a way forward, one hopes, as Pixies continue their second reign.

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    Indie Cindy ( 2014 )
    What Goes Boom / Greens and Blues / Indie Cindy / Bagboy / Magdalena 318 / Silver Snail / Blue Eyed Hexe / Ring the Bell / Another Toe in the Ocean / Andro Queen / Snakes / Jaime Bravo

    Context plays an important part in music - a great latter-day set of songs from a rock survivor, in some respects better than something they released in 1964 or so, can receive short-shrift - a simple shrug of the shoulders. In reality, actual passing of time and familiarity with a long-standing bands work could mean for said band to achieve the acclaim or excitement they previously received would need intervention of the gods. As for Pixies, we are told five or so of these songs were written before Kim Deal left and the remainder written once work with Gil Norton (producer of 'Doolittle', 'Bossanova' and 'Trompe Le Monde') began. Even though these five are not songs Kim had any hand in 'writing', every Kim fan will probably now guess (by choosing their favourite five) which songs she was 'involved' in. 'Bagboy' is actually a certainty - it stands apart from all the rest of the material audibly - the sonics are different. Speculation and guessing aside, does anybody expect this rather strange new Pixies album (the hardcore fans have snapped up all the songs on the previously released three EPs) to excellently... satisfy almost anyone? It was a nice idea, the EPs, with the supposition the next set of tunes would arrive more naturally, with a single and properly brand new LP some time later on.

    I never expected this album to start with 'What Goes Boom' - like any fan, i'd put together my running order assuming all these new songs intended to form an album. I'd even factored in the second half 'drag factor' - all Pixies/Frank Black releases since he ever started have far stronger first halves than second. Still, the running order for this album eventually becomes natural and makes sense - indeed, the first half is especially strong. 'What Goes Boom' sounds like the finer moments of 'Trompe Le Monde', although I would have had this starting side 'B' with 'Blue Eyed Hexe' starting the thing off instead, something a little different for the band. Complete with AC/DC style drumming from Dave Lovering, 'Blue Eyed Hexe' has great Joey guitar and Frank actually screaming properly like days of yore - very enjoyable indeed. The title track of this album has those quiet/loud parts and strumming, interplaying between the electric of Joey and the acoustic of Frank. 'Greens And Blues' is particularly poppy, but lacks the smartness and freshness of a 'Here Comes Your Man', from 'Doolittle'. When 'Ring The Bell' arrives, combined with the tracks before, you realise this is easily the poppiest Pixies set so far - something that had they not split up, would have been the case anyway (poppiest!) with the songs Frank wrote for his début solo LP back in 1993 - many of which were actually initially prospective Pixies songs.

    A word on the mixing and production - awful. Many tracks sound compressed to death and lack the sonic punch earlier Pixies albums enjoyed. Working with Gil Norton again I suppose made sense, but I really hope they work with someone fresh next time around. 'Another Toe' is a case in point, a potentially great tune wrecked by sounding like your speakers have been shredded by a knife. Compare and contrast 'Another Toe' with 'Andro Queen' - a tune that incorporates almost no Pixies trademarks yet sounds spacious and gorgeous - a highlight. The closing 'Jaime Bravo' is a nice tune, good harmonies and a 'Bossanova' kind of lighter feel, the repeated 'Goodbye' vocal refrain seems a fitting way to close. Overall, 'Indie Cindy' is a terrible name for an album, a good but not great album, but still shows enough 'Pixies' to satisfy. Followers of Frank's solo career will know he never really lost his writing ability, he just changed and shifted. Actually, there probably isn't enough change here when compared with previous Pixies records (which all seemed to be different to one another) to genuinely startle and surprise - but we shouldn't be too harsh just because of that.

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    this page last updated 27/04/14


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