We can thank the Pixies for a lot of things. They influenced bands such as Nirvana and Radiohead, as well as being one of the first Alt rock bands in America. After releasing three fairly successful studio albums, the Pixies released their final studio album, “Trompe Le Monde”, in 1991. While, in my opinion at least, this is better than its predecessor, “Bossanova”, you can tell when listening to “Tromp Le Monde” that there is tension building up between the four members, eventually causing them to break up in 1993. Even though “Trompe Le Monde” is said to be weaker than the Pixies better known albums, “Surfer Rosa” and “Doolittle”, “Trompe Le Monde” is one of my favorite Pixies albums. In “Trompe Le Monde” they return to the punk sound that was in their early albums, while experimenting with new styles.
The Pixies are-
Black Francis-Vocals, Guitar
Kim Deal-Vocals, Bass
The thing that really hooks me to the Pixies has got to be the musicianship overall. Joey does a great job with his guitar work on all songs, usually using effects to the max. On some songs, the guitar line just sounds crazy, for instance, the opening track as well as well as the title track, Trompe Le Monde. The guitar starts the song off, and carries on from their. Some parts of the song, the guitar sounds gnarly, but on other parts, it sounds cold and raspy. Kim Deal’s bass playing contributes as well. She can be up front with her bass playing, making it loud and in your face. On other songs, she’s in the background while Joey takes the lead. Another thing I notice about the Pixies is that Joey’s guitar playing and David’s drum playing mixes really well together. Distance Equals Rate Times Time is a good example of this. But the thing I really like about the Pixies’ musicianship is Black Francis’s vocals. On some songs, they can be just normal, but on other songs, he explodes, yelling and screaming at full volume. His vocals helped make the Pixies one of the most unique bands of the late 80’s and early 90’s Alt era, and also helped distinguish the Pixies from many other bands.
There is a good mix of songs and genres on “Trompe Le Monde”. While the surfer feel still lingers from their previous album “Bossanova”, “Tromp Le Monde” also has that punk sound that was on “Surfer Rosa” and “Doolittle”. The album starts off with the guitar dominated Trompe Le Monde. Trompe Le Monde sets the tone for the album. The next song on the album, Planet of Sound, is one of my favorite Pixies songs. The bass drives the song, while the guitar comes in for the chorus, and occasionally comes in and out during the verses. Everything weaves together nicely, making Planet Of Sound one of the best songs on the album. Alec Eiffel follows, and is probably the most famous song off “Trompe Le Monde”. It’s a perfect example of the guitar and drums blending together evenly, as Joey lies down a nice little guitar part while the drums follow at the same pace. Adding to the mix, there is an odd sounding keyboard part in the middle of the song. The Sad Punk is a perfect example of Black Francis’s yelling. He yells his ass off for the first half of the song, than tones it down towards the end, only to get loud again towards the very end. The song progresses very quickly at the beginning, but then suddenly stops in the middle, at the same spot where Francis gets quieter. There is a nice guitar outro at the end of the song, adding the feeling of mystery to The Sad Punk.
U Mass is a little different than the other tracks on the album. The song was written for the college where the four of them met and started to play at. The guitar starts the song off, as Francis soon joins in. After they play/sing for a little while, Kim joins in. The chorus comes, as Francis sings “It’s educational” over and over. U Mass ends fairly quick, ending one of my favorite songs on the album. Space (I Believe In) is a very interesting song. The guitar part in the beginning of the song is sick, and the lyrics are great. “Jefrey with one f Jeffery took up his place sat on a carpet and with tablas in hand took up the chase Jefrey with one f Jefrey.” The last song on the album, The Navajo Song kind of shows that things may not be working out for the Pixies, as you can here the tension pour out into their playing. Francis almost sounds annoyed as he sings, and the guitar and bass just don’t go together. The Navajo Know is a disappointing ending to “Trompe Le Monde”
While the Pixies have mostly loud, fast paced songs, they also have some soft stuff. Bird Dream Of The Olympus Mons is a great tune. Miscellaneous noises starts the song off, as Kim soon joins in. Francis comes in with some (gasp) mellow vocals. The chorus is the best part of the song, as Joey comes in and adds to the mellow mix, playing a soothing guitar part that mixes well with Kim’s bass part. Bird Dream Of The Olympus Mons is a nice break from the quick and witty songs on “Trompe Le Monde” Motorway To Rosewell is another slower song as well as the longest song on “Trompe Le Monde” It starts with a guitar part, but soon crashes into a mellow tune. Francis often repeats the same lyrics over and over. An acoustic guitar part graces us at the beginning, but soon gives into the bass and guitar parts. A piano ends Motorway To Rosewell in an almost a sad way. Even though these are the only two soft, mellower songs on “Trompe Le Monde”, Bird Dream Of The Olympus Mons and Motorway To Rosewell adds to an already great album.
Even though some people don’t like it, I do not have one bad thing to say about “Trompe Le Monde”. The musicianship and instrumentation is brilliant, and the songs on here are just great. Even though it does not match up to the likes of “Doolittle”, “Trompe Le Monde” is great and unique in its own way. For that, we can thank the Pixies. I give “Trompe Le Monde” a 4/5.
Planet Of Sound
Letter To Memphis
Bird Dream Of The Olympus Mons