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Unimaginative Bossanova review title.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Bossanova (Audio CD)
As Pixies had hinted on 'Doolittle', their next album saw the band mutate into a slightly different beast. Gone were the Biblical references, frenzied Spanish vocals and (for the most part) sex; instead, Bossanova (the Pixies' fourth - and best - album)takes outer space as a frequent reference point and wraps it up in a dreamlike, sinister Summer's day. The sense of evil on the first three albums has now turned into a more mysterious feeling that - as on 'Ana' and 'Havalina' - occasionally draws clouds across the sun. Or something more ominous, maybe.
Although not quite as alien-obsessed as the following album, there's plenty here to suggest that Pixies were from another planet: The opening 'Cecilia Ann' and 'Rock Music', which suggest high-speed space travel and an intergalactic battle respectively; the lyrics to mini-classic 'Allison'; and the sci-fi-like theremin on the spookily romantic 'Velouria', to name a few examples.
The one fault with 'Bossanova' is that it is the first Pixies album to bear noticably less trace of Kim Deal. Her bass is no longer quite as dominant a force, she sings no lead vocals and not many backing vocals and contributes no new songs. That said, when her backing vocals put in an appearance - 'Velouria', 'Dig for Fire' and 'Havalina' notably - they add a divine dimension to already classic songs. As if to compensate, though, Black Francis' own vocals have mellowed. Not exclusively so - 'Rock Music''s vocal is nearly as terrifying as it was on 'Tame' - but when it's required he sounds both human and oddly angelic.
The album's crowning glory, however, is 'The Happening'. Telling the story of aliens landing on Earth ("saying 'Hi'") it encapsulates all that is great about 'Bossanova'. The verse is not unlike early Pixies: angry guitars, demented vocal, before erupting into a glorious sun-drenched chorus consisting of just one syllable stretched out in falsetto. Over an endlessly repated chorus, the final verse has Black Francis rounding off the tale in an slmost trance-like state. It's not as well-known as 'Gigantic' or 'Debaser', but it's more than equal to them.
Ultimately, your enjoyment of 'Bossanova' is down to to whether or not you are willing to accept that a band might want to stray from their winning formula. For those willing to listen, though, here is the sound of a band emerging into the light - but retaining enough of the dark to keep it interesting.