The Pixies. The artsy crowd love them, but unlike what so often happens, this is actually a good band. Right from their debut EP, Come On Pilgrim
the band had strived to make a difference in the rock scene. However, where Pilgrim
and full-length debut Surfer Rosa
were basically sonic attacks of the visceral kind, 1989ís Doolitle
is a creepily melodic, somberly naÔve album.
Featuring the ęmonkey gone to heavenĽ on the cover, Doolitle
kicks off with Debaser
, which perfectly combines the bandís poppy sound with Black Francisí raspy, angered vocal delivery. Upon listening to this song, one starts to notice something unusual: much like in Nirvana, itís Kim Dealís bass that drives the song, with the groupís estrogen bearer also delivering all the backing vocals on the album. ^
But after Debaser
, a strange pattern takes place: only the odd-numbered songs are good. Wave Of Mutilation
(track #3) is perhaps the albumís crowning jewel, with Debaser
(#1), Here Comes Your Man
(#5) and Gauge Away
(#15) following suit. From the even tracks, only Tame
, I Bleed
and Monkey Gone To Heaven
stand out. Crackity Jones
is very funny, but by no means a Pixies classic, and as for the rest theyíre merely uninspired filler songs, some of them so short you donít even notice them, others boorishly long and uninteresting.
But putting the music aside for a second, letís focus on the lyrics. Theyíre often surrealistic, frequently sardonic, and have nothing to do with the groupís sugary melodies. Take Here Comes Your Man
, for example. Itís been played exhaustively in radio stations all over the world in the past decade. But how many people have noticed that the song is actually about a burialÖfrom the dead manís point of view"! Other songs contain odes to marijuana (Gauge Away
) or guns (There Goes My Gun
) and thereís even an ecology-conscious lyric on Monkey Gone To Heaven
(a song about a little monkey that dies covered in ę10.000 tons of sludge from New York and New JerseyĽ, which contains references to the destruction of the ozone layer).
However, as good as the lyrics are, many of the songs need improvement musically. And that is basically why I am not going to bow down to this record like everybody else. Itís undoubtedly a good record, arguably the Pixiesí finest hour, but itís a far cry from perfect. Still, all of you indie-rock fans should give it a try. Itís worth your time.
Wave Of Mutilation
Here Comes Your Man
Monkey Gone To Heaven