In the 90s, grunge band Nirvana stormed the scene with determination so powerful and an songs that remain classics today despite the lack of talent on frontman Kurt Cobain's part. There is no doubt in the minds of grunge fans, and a majority of rock fans, that Kurt Cobain was a god in the world of post-new wave rebellion toward the roots of punk. The question remains, however, of who forefathered this sound. Many hardcore fans will point to 80s punks Hüsker Dü for inspiring Cobain and company, but as for who gets credited as the first grunge band, many agree on the quirky bilingual Pixies. With this first 1989 release, Black Francis (now Frank Black) took his raw, untreated guitar demos (which can be found on 2004 release "Frank Black Francis") and turned them into a raw rock album. Don't be turned away by the label of EP, this album is by no means short in its delivery. A 20 minute runtime might persuade the record company to slash the price and call it an EP, but all 8 songs give such a punch that it's hard to exclude this album from your Pixies collection.
Caribou - 5/5
This song sums up everything good about The Pixies in 3 minutes and 19 seconds. The screaching intro shows signs of punk (listen to the demo, Frank Black says halfway through the intro "This is where I want it to sound like Hüsker Dü"), signs of surf rock, and most importantly, signs of a very low budget recording setup. The song then blasts with a hard drum beat and akward falsettos that make The Pixies an essential band.
Vamos - 4.5/5
Switching from spanish to english, the lyrics of this song are fairly disturbed. With a spanish opening of "I was thinking of living with my sister in New Jersey, she said it's a good life," the song goes on to say "We'll have our sons, they will be all well hung." If that isn't a direct reference to incest, I don't know what is. But don't let the lyrics get you down, the music is just as quirky and raw as ever.
Isla de Escanta - 4/5
This song takes flows right from Vamos into a short but sweet blast of Pixies, playing even more on the spanish lyrics.
Ed is Dead - 5/5
Using odd chords and riffs with screaches of "Ah Ya Ya Ya Ya" almost make you forget about the depressing lyrics kicked off by the line "Her head is in a bitter way" before going on to talking about Ed's body "rotting in stupid bliss." You get to a point where you have to let the lyrics slide, it's obvious the band is having too much fun with the delivery of it all.
The Holiday Song - 5/5
Another classic Pixies tune. Like Caribou, this song contains every element needed in a great Pixies song, only sped up and much more rocking. This song has appeared on numerous compilations, and if you're a Pixies fan, there's no doubt you've heard this song. Essential.
Nimrod's Son - 4/5
This song is outstanding, with great harmony and interludes of screams over a slowed down riff. The major downfall is the lyrics. I think we could do without the central character being a "son of incestuous union". Other then that, it's a great song.
I've Been Tired - 4.5/5
This song breaks into a drum beat with only Frank Black's odd high-pitched vocals backing it up. Soon a bassline comes in, shortly followed by guitars. The overall feel of this song is very upbeat, but the lyrics and vocal style add a quirky element that makes things interesting. The lyrics are original and humerous at times, just in the sheer quirk of them. "I said 'I wanna be a singer like Lou Reed'. 'I like Lou Reed' she said, sticking her tongue in my ear" or "'Why don't you tell me one of your biggest fears?' I said, 'Losing my penis to a whore with disease.' 'Excuse me?' 'Just kidding,' I said, 'Losing my life to a whore with disease.'"
Levitate Me - 5/5
A great closure to the album, bringing soft melodic elements together with loud guitar and vocal screeches. Even in the nicer moments, this song keeps the one element essential in an early Pixies recording, keep it simple.