Review Summary: A painfully brief demonstration of what the fame was all about.
Some bands just seem destined to go down in history, be it as precursors, as innovators, as leaders or simply as a damn fine band. And some bands unite all these factors to ensure that a large majority of the music world will at the very least know of them. The Pixies are one such band. Not satisfied with creating a sound that fit into wildly different styles - pleasing punks, indies and pop fans alike - they went and created a timeless hit which can be heard on radio stations the world over to this very day. Now, while the Indies writhed with pleasure over Caribou
and Wave Of Mutilation
, and the punks rocked out to Crackity Jones
, Valley girls could blast Here Comes Your Man
in their SUVs on the way to the mall and feel edgy. That alone would've granted the group's breakthrough album, Doolittle
, its fair share of importance. The fact that, in its best moments, it was one of the best pop-rock albums ever crafted was merely the cement that helped build this monument to indie music.
Now, 21 years have passed since the release of that seminal album; the Pixies are a quarter of a century older, several dozen pounds fatter, and have lost a lot of the pull they once had in the music world. However, they do not seem too concerned, and rather than make uninspired sequels to the already mediocre Bossa Nova
, they seem satisfied with touring a little and putting out free samples of their concerts to please the fans. And if all of them are as good as the suitably titled Doolittle EP
, they are certainly welcome to keep on doing it.
As the name indicates, Doolittle EP
is a four-song sample taken from the Doolittle
20th Anniversary Concert, in 2009. Recorded in Paris, it represents a no-frills sample of what a modern-day Pixies concert can be, with a rabid crowd and solid performances from all four musicians. Kim Deal leads the troops, taking care of what little communicarion there is with the audience in pathetically-accented French; similarly, her bass is still the driving force of the Pixies' music, belting out those instantly recognizable runs and laying the foundations for Frank Black's trademark demented lyrics and vocals, which have lost none of their original force, despite the singer's decline in physical shape. As for Santiago and Lovering, they continue to be mere coadjuvants, with the former's edgy, noisy guitar sneaking in between Deale's bases and the latter keeping steady, uncomplicated time.
The one surprise here, then, is the setlist. Out of the five main staples of the original Doolittle
, only two are included here, with the seemingly omnipresent Here Comes Your Man, Wave Of Mutilation
nowhere to be seen. Still, even without their natural companions, Monkey Gone To Heaven
and Gouge Away
still take good care of themselves, with the former in particular asserting itself as one of the best songs in the Pixies' career. The criminally short sample selection is completed with a puzzling Dancing The Manta Ray
- a song not even on Doolittle
- and probably the biggest surprise of this short album, Crackity Jones
. What amounted basically to a filler song on the album gains a lively, seminal interpretation here, easily siding with Monkey
as the best thing here. The other two songs, while strong, are somewhat less impressive, but help round out this small, unassuming release nicely.
In the end, then, Doolittle EP
disappoints only in its short duration and the absence of some classic tracks. With the Pixies' tracks averaging two and a half minutes, this barely amounts to ten minutes of - admittedly excelent - music. Furthermore, the non-inclusion of the group's biggest hits is baffling, as the foursome could have easily extended this release to include at least Wave
and Here Comes Your Man
, or even put them in in lieu of a middling track like Dancing The Manta Ray
, which doesn't even fit the concept of the album. When all is said and done, though, one fact remains: the Pixies can do no wrong, and Doolittle EP
is as strong a release as could be expected from an aging, reunited band milking a famous album from their past. No, scratch that - it is better; much
Monkey Gone To Heaven
Download it legally and for FREE here
: http://www.pixiesmusic.com/2010/11/live-downloads-311-thru-326-2004-reunion-canada/ (join the mailing list via the button on the top right-hand side of the screen to get your EP).