on 16 January 2006
Having bought the Pixies greatest hits 'wave of mutilation' and loved it I decided to collect the albums. I loved 'Doolittle', but then when I got to Surfer Rosa/Come on Pilgrim about a year ago I liked the odd song but wasn't bothered about the album overall, how wrong was I???!!!???
This is an album that needs to be understood. It's experimental, songs like 'Vamos' and 'Tony's Theme' are not instantly likable. It's Hardcore, there is more screaming and vicious lyrics and riffs than all other Pixies albums. It's not easy going, if you are not already a Pixies fan then I advise 'Doolittle'.
However, once you get past these obsticles, played it enough times and left any wishes to be taken on a smooth ride through paradise well at home, you will finally appreciate just what this album is, a work of timeless art.
You live, you laugh, you smile, you cry, you die, and you must own Surfer Rosa.
on 16 October 2005
Comprising the Pixies' first two albums, SR+COP is definitely one of the greatest albums of all time. From the fantastic Bone Machine (something to air-drum to) all the way, 20 incredible tracks later to eccentric masterpiece Levitate Me, this (these) album(s) is (are) a must. Black Francis's wailing yet harmonic vocals combining with Kim Deal's own excellent voice, all over booming drums courtesy of David Lovering and with the best guitarring ever by Joey Santiago.
Best Tracks: the whole album. Buy it.
The Pixies have received a creative renaissance of late, since their 2004 Wave Of Mutilation compilation. There is reason for this, as this collection of their debut album, Surfer Rosa and their early EP Come On Pilgrim shows.
Their influence can be heard in countless songs. 'Cactus' was later covered by David Bowie, 'Where Is My Mind?' by Placebo, and so on. Truth is, there is scarcely a duff track across this whole CD, which burns through 21 tracks in about 50 minutes.
As good as the aforementioned are, I feel the opening salvo of 'Bone Machine' and 'Break My Body' is the definitive Pixies statement. Between them, they form a whirlwind of off-kilter harmonies, tempo changes, Frank Black's unholy screech and Joey Santiago's chiming guitar work. Then, there is 'Gigantic,' an early single, fronted by bassist Kim Deal. Despite containing little in the way of pop melody (that was saved for Doolittle in 1989), it is relentlessly catchy.
The first two Pixies albums are two masterful, and fairly different items of evidence showing that Kurt Cobain, as good as he was, was a mere pretender to their throne. I recommend buying the more accessible Doolittle first, but follow it up with this, the more hardcore, dirtier, filthier, nastier precursor.
on 5 June 2002
I have a confession to make. I am utterly ashamed. Despite having owned the Pixie's later albums for some time i had never owned, or even heard, this masterpiece.
The guitar melodies of this dont stick in your brain, they are firmly bolted there. I have never heard a more innovative or breathtaking album. In particualar, the distorted guitar in "Vamos" has to be heard to be believed. "Broken face" is equally spectacular.
Buy this NOW. No question about it. Buy several copies for yourself so you are never without one and then buy two for every person you know.
I am off to bow down and worship my Hi-fi as i leave this on repeat all night long to try to attone for my sins.
on 11 May 2004
Take Black Francis and Kim Deal.... add Steve Albini's production, shake well.... and what do you get?
Two of the most vicious, idiosyncratic, groundbreaking indie/rock albums of the 80s.
It's difficult to explain the Pixies - the sheer visceral impact of their music almost defies explanation. Perhaps a simple explanation would be that at this point in their career, they were something like Husker Du meets Motorhead with added Spanish guitars, and lyrics by a deranged Viv Stanshall.
Black Francis shrieks and yells his way through tales of perversion, subversion, surrealism, superheroes, love and hate. Kim Deal's occasionally angelic voice provides counterpoint on tracks like 'Gigantic'.
I remember where I was the first time I heard 'Something Against You'. It rearranged my mental roadmap of what rock was and what it could do. Every track on these two albums is equally stunning. I envy anyone hearing this stuff for the first time.
on 15 October 2007
Crikey, where do you start to review this? Although the album Doolittle first won me over to the wonderful Pixies, it was their first audacious recordings that I now see as their best. On Surfer Rosa & Come on Pilgrim, a combination of their debut album and EP, there is a reckless energy that manages to be both incredibly abrasive, wonderfully melodic and dead sexy...the stuff of euphoria
Whilst it easy to analyse what went into the songs, it is almost impossible to explain what made these tunes so addictive, so heady. Black Francis' riveting vocal carries most of the songs with both menace and dark humour... from the complete gaga madness of Broken Face, to Cactus, the creepy fetishistic letter to a lover. Joey Santiago had a unique guitar style and sound that later became almost a trademark for grunge. Kim Deal's (credited as Mrs. John Murphy on the sleeve notes) strangely awkward bass playing, her slacker indie-kid vocal, David Lovering's relentless drumming style, Steve Albini's classic rock n roll production values. The contrast from dark-to-light, playful to lairy. The throw-away but drum-tight feel to the whole album is a real winning formula.
Pixies were to become the godfathers of Grunge, and a major influence on the young Kurt Cobain. According to Wikipaedia, they got their name from a random pick out of the dictionary. The definition of Pixies was 'mischeavous little elves' and I reckon that sums them up pretty well, but I prefer the three R's: Raw, Reckless, Riveting.
on 19 June 2005
this is probably the most popular and celebrated album made by Frank Black and co. and deserevedly so. from their playful pop tunes like 'where is my mind?' to the other end of the spectrum with their noise merchant style 'something against you' this album caters for nearly all tastes, from fans of new wave bands seen in NME to fans of Native Nod and Sonic Youth. As one of the most influential post-punk bands to date this album is probably the most enjoyable and accesible of all the Pixies' works. On top of this, the album is riddled with their trademark sense of humour and somewhat tongue-in-cheek nature that defines this unique approach.
on 7 August 2007
I can't remember if this was the first Pixies record I bought on purpose, or whether it just happened that way. Nevertheless, it was, and I'm so glad. This is a masterful record. It's one of those that just makes you wonder where it came from. How can something so simple be so good? Is it just chance, is it magic, did the Pixies know the music they were making was this good? It is magic. Let there be no question on that score.
There are songs on this record that make you love it immediately: Bone Machine, Break My Body, Broken Face, Gigantic, Where Is My Mind, Caribou, Nimrod's Son, I've Been Tired, Levitate Me... and there are some that should be in that list, but I don't recognise them by their titles! Then there are others that you don't realise that you like them until you hear them out of context and don't recognise them... and then when you do recognise them you realise you've liked them all along.
The songs ARE simple, but at the risk of sounding like an idiot: they are complex in their simplicity. Essentially there are only ever two guitars, one bass, one drum kit, minimal overdubs - but the ways these instrumentations are manipulated and used add those magical touches that grab you by the heart and squeeze. Sometimes everyone stops, then the rhythm guitar comes in, then the vocal and then.... EVERYONE! It's invigorating. Yes, two guitars but they are used like one. Instead of a rhythm guitar with a lead guitar that elaborates on the chords, Joey Santiago's leads screech and scratch and contort and contrast. Essentially, it's an original use of dynamics that takes these songs [and they are already good songs] and makes them special.
People often go on about the Pixies having done "the Nirvana thing" first - i.e: quiet verses, distorted choruses - there's even a Pixies documentary called "LoudQUIETLoud". Well sure, Kurt Cobain may have said that he was trying to copy the Pixies, but really if you actually listen to this record, any comparisons between the two bands are meaningless. There are only 3, maybe 4 songs at most that are as simplistic in their arrangement as Nirvana's music. And that's not to detract from Nirvana's legacy. There's nothing wrong with simplicity when it's backed up with other qualities that Nirvana had in spades. The Pixies' music SOUNDS raw and untamed, but really it's very delicate and intricate. And that's part of its genius.
Truly, it's a record that you can return to, and that will continue to surprise you and excite you every time. Let this record be a rallying call. Let it remind us, in these days of overproduction and every band sounding the same, that rough, grating, grinding records can have a power of their own.
Buy this, then go and buy all the other Pixies records. All of them. The production quality differs, but there are gems on every one of them.
on 22 January 2002
For sheer force, little else in rock history matches Surfer Rosa's opening salvo; battering the door down with 'Bone Machine' before unleashing three quickfire bursts of brittle melody and off-kilter chords: 'Break My Body', 'Something Against You', and 'Broken Face'. That 'Gigantic' constitutes something of a calming down in proceedings amply demonstrates this album's impact. They don't let up either; on every track the drums are turned up, the guitar is high and squally, the bass is relentless and Black Francis' deranged holler is breathtaking. Particular standouts - if such a thing exists on a record that's as conistent as it is thrilling - are the famous 'Where Is My Mind', the sung-in-Spanish 'Oh My Golly' and the unsettling 'Cactus'. An inspirational debut and an album that has to be in your collection.
on 15 November 2003
After watching fight club a few times, I became increasingly intrigued by the end credits track. I kept trying to remember to look up the band who did it (the track in question is where is my mind?) on amazon. Eventually I did. The band: The Pixies. Seeing all the glowing reviews and the bargain price I decided that why not try their first album (actually their first two albums on one cd). This led to my discovery of possibly the greatest band alive. I have all of their albums now, and while this is not my favourite, it still holds a special place in my heart as it was my first experience of Black Francis and his band of debasers. Buy this. It will change your life.