Perhaps no band has played a bigger role in what would become the crossover between 80's new wave and 90's alternative than the Pixies. “Smells Like Teen Spirt”, the anthem of its time, was almost on the cutting room floor because of its strong Pixies influence, while the band ironically hasn’t sold as many copies as some of its proteges, only recently receiving gold status with 1988's Surfer Rosa. Finding contentment, however, in their underground scene, the Pixies released five studio albums between 1987 and 1991, the first of which technically being an eight song EP. Sadly, the band broke up shortly after their 1992 tour with U2.
While most tunes haven’t ventured out much more than college radio favorites, 1989's Doolittle yielded some major hits, including “Monkey Gone To Heaven” and “Here Comes Your Man”. In early 1990, the band took a short hiatus, leaving Kim Deal to reinvent the Breeders, a band of which she was in before the Pixies, and Black Francis, legally named Charles Thompson, to embark on a solo career. By the summer of 1990, the Pixies rejoined to record Bossanova and Trompe Le Monde a year later. However, by 1992 the band dismembered. 1993 seen the release of the Breeder’s second full-length album, Last Splash, while Black Francis became known as Frank Black and has released several solo albums, some of which including back up and the full title Frank Black and the Catholics. Although it was 9 years before the release of Title TK, the Breeders third studio album, Kim Deal has been busy with the Pixies 2004 and 2005 tours, which arouses suspicions of possibly a new Pixies album coming in the future.
2004 marked the release of Wave of Mutilation, a best of collection presenting 23 tracks that outline the Pixies catalogue, giving new listeners an excellent feel for one of rocks most underrated bands. With outlandish lyrics and interesting song orchestration, the Pixies may be a bit hard to swallow at first, however, after repeated listens, the intricacies and creativity prove to present themself in an admirable light. The Pixies are among the bands that can’t be labeled, but only seen for a punk element here and a pop element there, proving to be a timeless sound that can find relevance in any situation. There’s a certain quirky nature to the Pixies, not just in humor but in off-color subject matter. “Bone Machine”, the opening track of Wave Of Mutilation, backs lyrics of an awkward and sour relationship with thunderous drums and scratchy guitars. The Primus-like “Nimrod’s Son” portrays a person reflecting on a saddening life, becoming a bit crazed by it. “Holiday Song”, keeping with the punk/indie sound of the previous two tracks, is about a son fantasizing about his sister. Some of the most immediately addictive tracks on the album include the Kim Deal led “Into The White” and “Gigantic, “Dig For Fire”, and a well done cover of Neil Young’s “Winterlong”. Although some songs may stick out as the poppy tunes that are sure to grab anyone’s attention, the raw songs like “Debaser”, “Where Is My Mind”, and “Hey” stand out as the most respectable. What tends to grow on the listener is the unique structure of the lyrics, and the way even the simplest concepts are laid out in a metaphorical and often comical sense. Wave of Mutilation shows each member at, possibly, their best. Accompanied with a DVD released at the same time, simply titled “Pixies”, an all too short career is captured in a critically approved format
For a fan of indie, punk, or just plain thought provoking music, the Pixies is a great band to check out. For any newcomer to the band, Best of Pixies: Wave of Mutilation is a great place to get your feet wet. If you even remotely like Sonic Youth, Breeders, Nirvana, Butthole Surfers, Meat Puppets, Weezer, Modest Mouse, or much of the 80's and 90's alternative scene, it’s almost a sure bet you’ll dig the Pixies.
In 1997, Death To The Pixies 1987-1991 was released, which includes a 17 track best of and a 21 track live second disc. Although there are six more studio songs on Wave of Mutilation, the live disc is something to consider.
0.5-Sad, hardly can be considered noise
1-Horrible, better off never recorded
1.5-Mind numbing, less than mediocre
2-Basic, mainstream machine
2.5- Alright, low expectations
3-Good, but has a few flaws
3.5-Well-done, deserves to be acknowledged
4-Excellent, stands well on its own
4.5-Amazing, always a great listen
5-Perfect, life changing work of art
The reviews I write are without plagiarism or bias to any sound or genre, but as a third-person presenting facts and logical comparisons. My personal feelings are not concrete and solidly agreeable, so when they are presented they are isolated and left to be viewed as such. The ratings for each album are not shifted due to what I am currently interested in, but out of a calculated sum ranging from originality, ability of repeated listens due to consistent effort and solid production, poetic lyrical structure, and overall musicianship.