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 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 1 December 2002
Surfer Rosa / C'mon Pilgrim is an incredible feat in the advancement of music. While you don't often hear too much about them, the Pixies shaped the world of alternative music as it is today. Without Surfer Rosa Nirvana would never have created Nevermind. It opens with Bone Machine, setting the tone for the album. That is, fast, exciting, and absolutely insane. Break my Body conveys pretty much the same, and you know this is going to be a good album from there on in. However, it is the next song, Something Against You, that lets you know its going to be a great album. A ska punk riff trips off the song at a quick pace, building an incredible feedback into it, and just then the song gets even crazier. This is because Blacks vocals, indiscernable due to the distort, which you would think would ruin the song, but it only adds to it. The album never lets up, and every song is an incredible piece of art, pumped full of energy. Notable standouts include every single track on the album, however the most stunning tracks for me are Something Against You, Gigantic, Where Is My Mind, Tony's Theme and Oh My Golly, but I suspect others would wish to add to this list. Seriously go out and buy this album, as you will not be disappointed.
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 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 28 March 2013
I never 'got' the Pixies in their day. I grew up with late night John Peel; the Cocteaus, Smiths, Cure, Fall, New Order, the Birthday Party.. but whenever the Pixies were lauded i think i always focussed back on my homework and let it wash over me. However, like many artists i've since come to hold dear, I first listened with a sense of duty (shamedly) and on the back of the critics' nods. With the Pixies I admit with embarrassment this only happened recently. But wow was it worth the wait..
Doolittle (Pixies other rated LP) is rightly applauded as up there with the very finest. But for me Surfer Rosa & Come on Pilgrim is at worst its equal, and perhaps at times reaches even greater heights.
The classic 'Where is my Mind' nestles among treasures such as 'River Euphrates', with its quirky whooping hookline and charactersitic short-barred verses. (Turn it up) 'Gigantic'.. simple but really GIGANTIC! 'Broken Face' (what a tune.. my kids love the words!..) and the shorter 'I'm Amazed' and 'Oh My Golly!'- aggressive, punchy, arresting. The out-track 'Levitate me' is melodic, beautiful, haunting,. yet equally compelling, assertive and abrasive. There's something of the 'Big Eyed Beans from Venus' (Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band 'Clear Spot' stand out track...)i can't put my finger on it as to why,- just the nervous weight the song carries). A real showstopper to leave you dangling in wait of the next offering.
The songs know where they're going and exactly what they're about. When they're short, they're short for a reason, when there's padding (rarely) it exists because the song needs it and is the better for it. The songwriting is superb throughout and not to be underestimated. Francis growls and sometimes screams his way through what isn't always an easy listen. It is noisy, in a nice way. It is loud, and it should be played loud.
You will hear the Smashing Pumpkins, Television, Nirvana, Mudhoney, Oasis, Sonic Youth (not literally..) but in truth the Pixies have their own unique niche they carved for themselves and are without equal. For me, here the Pixies aren't toying around with ideas, experimenting and trying to be creative. Its like they know what album they should be making.. almost like once a track is finished it was meant to be?.. This takes vision, and buckets of talent, and seperates rockers from true rock stars.
My kids are sick of hearing this CD whilst I'm preparing their dinner! Out of the silence I'll forward to track 10 and the wall of drums of 'Oh My Golly' will kick in randomly and at full volume. Not again I can sense them thinking..
Buy this CD at all costs and persevere with the Pixies. Perhaps a little dated, but definitely not overrated. 10/10