Pixies
Surfer Rosa


4.5
superb

Review

by YoYoMancuso USER (44 Reviews)
September 11th, 2012 | 46 replies | 1,804 views


Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the most eclectic collections of top-notch alt-rock that the genre has to offer.

I think I can speak for almost everyone on the site when I say that originality is something that we all crave desperately in this endless cascade of music that we listen to. You can absolutely fall in love with an album and listen to it nonstop for 3 or 4 weeks, and after a while you'll have an epiphany: "I need something different. I need something ORIGINAL." And it's off to mediafire looking for the next collection of songs to take over your life. The more you're taken aback by something you've never heard before, the more you can appreciate it. And maybe that's why when I was a 6th-grade boy in the early winter mornings of 1998, my jaw hit the floor when I first heard Pixies' "Surfer Rosa".

This album is truly like nothing I've ever heard before in my life. Alternative music has pretty much branched off into subgenre hell in 2012, with hipsters yelling at you for calling a certain band alternative when they're actually "indie-pencil-mustache-core". Alternative pop, alternative metal, grunge, it can all be traced back here. Pixies broke so many boundaries in just 33 minutes that it's difficult to count them all. First off, the way the drums were mixed was genius. They're not overtly technical, sure, but the relentless pounding of David Lovering just energizes you in a way other simple beats just couldn't. Producer Steve Albini is definitely owed some credit to how amazing this record sounds, adding small little nooks & crannies such as the incredible reverb on the drums & guitar, as well as the unedited studio banter scattered throughout the record. Black Francis's voice is simply impeccable here, as he travels across so many different vocal styles in such a short amount of time, and with incredible precision. From the no-holds-barred wailing on "Broken Face" and "Vamos", to the distorted shrieks of "Something Against You", anthemic screaming on "Tony's Theme", and the infectious harmonies of "River Euphrates" and "Bone Machine", the vocal work on here is nothing short of an enigma.

My jaw hit the floor when I heard these bass lines for the first time. I don't know what's so special about them: they're your typical bouncy, fun bass parts that have definitely been played before, but they're just played with such primal energy that you can't help but tap your foot along. Kim Deal is an incredible bass player, and although she doesn't have any extreme tap solos or slap-bass influenced breakdowns, she can truly make her instrument sing. She actually gets to sing herself on the track "Gigantic", which is easily an album highlight. While the subject matter is extremely immature, musically the song is one of the most mature alt singles up to that point, with the minute-long outro of pounding snares and crashes, infectious bass playing, and dreamy guitar chords. And to think this song is placed right between the frenzied punk of "Broken Face" and the melodic heaven that is "River Euphrates" just makes me want to applaud these guys. Bravo, Pixies, for making such a varied album and creating such an influential piece of work on such a small budget with almost nothing to go from.

Allow me to just ramble for a bit about the guitar sound, because I just want to drown in it. The chords on "Break My Body" and "Brick Is Red" are just pure bliss, and every time the songs end I'm taken a bit by surprise because the guitar had sucked me into the atmosphere of the song by that point, and it just ends abruptly after I'm put in a dream-like state by the fantastically written chord progression. "Where Is My Mind?" is another example of a fantastically written guitar line, being based off of just two simple notes and becoming one of the most anthemic and recognizable guitar parts of the late '80s, with the help of a few distortion pedals and a bit of Albini's magic. "Bone Machine" also features a killer riff with some killer string bends and the flawless "River Euphrates" offers us an abrasive guitar line with some surprisingly melodic structure.

However, if there's one thing I don't understand about this record, it's why the band is obsessed with the human anatomy. First Francis is rambling about how your bone has a little machine, then asking you to break his body, whining that he has a broken face, and then all of a sudden Kim Deal is talking about dicks. It's a bit puzzling indeed, but it definitely adds to the charm of the record.

Surfer Rosa is one of the most iconic records ever, and one of the most important records I've experienced in my lifetime. I highly recommend you go out and get it if you haven't already, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

4.5/5.

Recommended Tracks:
Bone Machine
Break My Body
Gigantic
River Euphrates*
Where Is My Mind?
Tony's Theme
Brick Is Red



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user ratings (1639)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
YoYoMancuso
September 10th 2012


11080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

20th review! had to make it something that was very important to me

Xenophanes
Emeritus
September 10th 2012


10593 Comments


where is my mind is so good

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2012


4424 Comments


I think I can speak for almost everyone on the site when I say that originality is something that we all crave desperately in this endless cascade of music that we listen to.


Yeah originality is good. But I even enjoy really generic music as always, to me its really whatever sounds good and catches my interest.

Good review, man. Congrats on hitting 20. POS'd.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 10th 2012


50341 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Pixies review fuck yeah!!!!!!!

Digging: The Brave Little Abacus - Masked Dancers

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 10th 2012


50341 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Didn't put Vamos in the recommended tracks???????????

Chortles
September 10th 2012


17956 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

such an awesome album. nice review

RosaParks
September 10th 2012


14900 Comments


aye

Lakesss
September 10th 2012


37 Comments


Surfer RosaParks

breakingthefragile
September 10th 2012


2956 Comments


The big 20th review. I'm proud of you man, you stuck with it and you've grown so much as a writer. Have a well deserved pos in celebration.

Digging: Cathedrals - Cathedrals EP

YoYoMancuso
September 10th 2012


11080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks Alex and Hernan, you guys have pretty much been there since the beginning with my absolutely horrid Lateralus review that started it all (not as bad as Insurrection though)

Yeah Trebor I know how much you love these guys, and Vamos kinda drags in the middle imo, but the ending is fucking great

breakingthefragile
September 10th 2012


2956 Comments


No problem dude, you've done good work. And yeah lol, I think Insurrection's Tool review is gonna be pretty hard to top. xD

Chortles
September 10th 2012


17956 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's only the review of our generation

Graveyard
September 11th 2012


5730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

where is my mind is overrated but yea this rocks

Digging: Sugary Sweet Machines - Controlled Breathing

KILL
September 11th 2012


71750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great album

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

WeepingBanana
September 11th 2012


10137 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

better than Doolittle agreed

KILL
September 11th 2012


71750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

tits!

YankeeDudel
September 11th 2012


9313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"where is my mind is overrated"

oh shutty

Digging: Walknut - Graveforests And Their Shadows

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 11th 2012


50341 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Not one of their best songs so yeah overrated


YankeeDudel
September 11th 2012


9313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh its another opinion thats wrong hello

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 11th 2012


50341 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Fak you I am the Pixies authority




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