Pixies
Surfer Rosa


4.5
superb

Review

by Justin Swope USER (85 Reviews)
October 22nd, 2012 | 55 replies


Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Surfer Rosa is a magnificent blend of styles that establish the Pixies as a boundary-pushing band.

The Pixies are truly remarkable role models and heroes of the alternative rock genre. These guys (and girl) filled an empty gap in the underground music scene. Without a doubt, the Pixies planted the seed of alternative music with their unconventional song structures, their disheveled style, and their sheer ferocity. Surfer Rosa, the band's first studio album, is a unique adventure that serves as a turning point for music itself.

From the first moment of Surfer Rosa, it's clear that the band is not trying to cater to anyone's particular tastes. A majority of the album is characterized by disorder and recklessness, yet the Pixies make it sound so controlled and so purposeful. The end result is a violent, thunderous, and grand collection of tracks. Elements of the songs are both unexpected and unusual. For instance, the drums often deviate from the rhythm set by the melody in a way that sounds like the instruments are tripping over one another. The chord progression is strange and unnatural. Nevertheless, the passion and energy embedded within the LP make it all more than worthwhile.

An example of this atypical structure is the opening track, "Bone Machine", with a peculiar opening guitar riff that actively competes with the drums. This track is incredibly dense, with a crawling bassline as well as odd vocals that come closer to shouting instead of singing from Black Francis. These conflicting instruments all cease during the chorus as the voices of Francis and Kim Deal take the wheel for a only brief moment. Overall, the song encapsulates the aggression and drive for which the Pixies are known. "Break My Body" is a fierce track with abrasive guitars and grating lyrics. Francis once again demonstrates his ability to explore different vocal levels.

"Broken Face" is the album's shortest song and easily its most blunt. The track's pandemonium comes to a head during the chorus about thirty seconds in as the percussion tumbles down a hill of brutality. Kim Deal's vocals finally reach the forefront on the more structured "Gigantic", presenting some of the album's most memorable hooks. "River Euphrates", my personal favorite, explores a variety of sounds with unmatched finesse. The album's most beautiful track, it provides the listener with some breathing room for a change as Deal repeatedly sings "ride" to the point where she sounds like one of the instruments. The introduction builds up to one of the most explosive moments on the LP, as Francis frees himself to the point of yelling. Thus, the track is very liberating and very lively.

The second half of the album takes an interesting turn with "Where Is My Mind?", a solid rocker with a crunchy guitar riff. It's followed by "Cactus", which makes heavy use of an ominous guitar riff juxtaposed with a punchy drum beat. The track manages to expose another dark side of the Pixies. "I'm Amazed" is another high-speed track with a disarray of sounds coupled with distant, ancillary vocals from Francis and Deal. "Brick Is Red" provides a strong finish with impressive, bright guitars that soon give way Francis's more restrained vocals. In comparison to the rest of the album, the song is more upbeat and optimistic and signals a transition to the sound of Doolittle.

Surfer Rosa is never short of vitality, combining a variety of unconventional styles from one of the most influential bands of all time. The Pixies are true to themselves on this record, and this record paves the way for further innovation. Simply put, Surfer Rosa is an exemplary and splendid rock album.

Favorite Tracks:
River Euphrates
Bone Machine
Brick Is Red
Break My Body
Cactus



Recent reviews by this author
Built to Spill Keep It Like a SecretFlying Lotus You're Dead!
Alt-J This Is All YoursRustie Green Language
Cloud Nothings Here and Nowhere ElseLiars Mess
user ratings (1662)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2012


50872 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

sweet

Digging: Bobby Barnett - Little Wounds

porch
October 22nd 2012


8460 Comments


stopped reading after the first paragraph

YoYoMancuso
October 22nd 2012


11189 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

awesome album

MUNGOLOID
October 22nd 2012


4350 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

awesome album and review.

jtswope
October 22nd 2012


2456 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thank you!

WeepingBanana
October 22nd 2012


10208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The Pixies are truly the unsung heroes of the alternative rock genre.


wat.

better than Doolittle btw

Ethics
October 22nd 2012


4112 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I kinda get what he was aiming for there
and yeah, surfer rosa > doolittle

nice review

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2012


50872 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Best american 80s alt rock band agreed

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2012


16114 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

why you say they are 'unsung' ? I spose they werent big at first but they got a legendary reputation now.

Digging: H.P. Lovecraft - H.P. Lovecraft II

jtswope
October 22nd 2012


2456 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

because i would say that while they have a large following, many music fans today don't even realize how much of an influence the pixies truly had on so many bands.

wabbit
October 22nd 2012


7020 Comments


Jonny Greenwood ripped this album off hard.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2012


16114 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i disagree, they are very often 'sung' and their influence is well known

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2012


16114 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

change 'the unsung' to 'one of the undisputed'

Youtellme
October 22nd 2012


1351 Comments


"The Pixies are truly the unsung heroes of the alternative rock genre."

Barring this...
This review is quite good, as usual.

Well, except maybe for this:
"shortest song and easily its most blunt."


That sounds kinda off to me. English isn't my native language though, so i don't know if it's grammatically correct.


wabbit
October 22nd 2012


7020 Comments


also that first line makes no sense. Black has nearly eaten himself to death off of the fight club hot pockets money.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2012


16114 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

see 3 people have now said that 'unsung' thing is daft.
u should change it bcos most of the review is really good.

jtswope
October 22nd 2012


2456 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ok i changed it but i think people were misinterpreting what i meant by unsung. i mean that they laid the grounds for alternative music today but they were never a commercial band.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2012


16114 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ye they werent huge at the time but the way it read made it sound like unsung in general.
posd neway nice review

Ethics
October 22nd 2012


4112 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Jonny Greenwood ripped this album off hard."

lol

Youtellme
October 22nd 2012


1351 Comments


"Jonny Greenwood ripped this album off hard."

You're retarded, aren't you?



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy