Pixies - Doolittle (Vinyl)

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If you want to plot a classic rise and fall pattern in the career of a band, look no further than the Pixies. This middle album, third of five, is the pinnacle of their noise equation: taut, terrifying and tightly edited, these 15 tracks (best known: "Monkey Gone To Heaven"; best quality, the insane "Debaser"; or the predatory "Hey") have the confidence that was missing from Come On Pilgrim and Surfer Rosa, but without the bloated pomp of Bossanova or Trompe Le Monde. Black Francis, as Charles Thompson IV was known then, surfs fast with his and Joey Santiago's guitars, tempered by the groundswell of Kim Deal's fine bass and counter vocals. It is like the last stand of US indie-dom: intelligent music encased in its precious, intricate and trademark Vaughn Oliver sleeve.

I don't think there's anyone who'd disagree with the notion that The Pixies are the most influential Alternative Rock band ever, and Doolittle is probably the most influential album of the genre. It seems as if every Alternative Rock band at one time or another has stolen something or (to put it nicely) borrowed something from The Pixies. So many albums I've heard all have Pixies' fingerprints all over them, their influence stretches so wide and I believe they'll continue to be influential in the future because they're a band with a timeless quality to their music, and they made two absolute classic albums that deserve all the hype, acclaim and adoration they get.

The first song on the album is 'Debaser', and I think it embodies the Pixies and it's a perfect benchmark for the rest of the album, it sets the standard and displays the incredibly abrasive yet catchy songwriting, the energy, the intensity of the album perfectly. Two Pixies songs stand out in particular as songs that everyone has borrowed from at one time or another, the first is 'Where Is My Mind' from Surfer Rosa and the second is Debaser. They're definitely the two best Pixies songs and it feels like every Alternative Rock band has used things from those two songs, whether it be the quiet/loud dynamics, the chord progressions, it doesn't matter. They're so influential, but nothing has been made that has ever been as good as them and you can see why people would want to try to re-create wht the Pixies did. Hell, even Kurt Cobain admitted that he basically ripped off the Pixies.

'Debaser' is definitely my favourite song from the album, it has interesting but ultimately nonsensical lyrics, brilliant chord structures, Kim Deal's fantastic backing vocals, it's goofy, it's fun and it's weird and it really sets the standard for the rest of the album. Sometimes when your favourite song is the first song on the album, the rest can feel like a bit of a disappointment but I can't really pick a flaw with Doolittle. Every single song is a stone cold classic, if I'm being a little critical and mean, I'd say that 'Silver' is the only real bit of filler but I feel like even that is pretty great. 'Here Comes Your Man', 'Monkey Gone to Heaven' and 'Hey' are the other stand out tracks. They're some of the greatest songs of all time.

Some of the lyrical themes Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV (better know as Francis Black) explores are extremely dark and sinister, even though on the surface they have a real sense of fun. The best thing about them is the music is so catchy and the hooks so memorable, there's a nice juxtaposition and contrast to them. The Pixies' dynamic really does transcend the quiet-loud dynamic, everyone has tried to copy that distinctive and almost trademark quiet-loud thing the Pixies had going on but they never seem to come close, they nail the dynamics absolutely perfectly. I'm still not sure what exactly sets them apart from bands that have tried hard to replicate them, is it the simply but melodic basslines? I don't know, but whatever it is, it keeps me coming back for more.

I have no idea how anyone could ever dislike The Pixies, and the best thing is - I don't think I've ever met anyone who's disliked them. The songwriting here is some of the best songwriting you'll ever hope to hear and even though Indie Rock is my favourite genre I've found with a lot of it, it can be very pleasant and nice but it can be very middle of the road and a little generic and it can just plod along without any purpose. With Doolittle (and Surfer Rosa) you know it's the Pixies, they're so distinctive, quirky, idiosyncratic and most of all - fun. I prefer Doolittle to most albums because it finds the right balance between weirdness, abrasiveness and perfect Pop sensibilities. Listening to Black Francis screaming his lungs out never ever gets old. Him screaming his guts up juxtaposed with Kim, who for me, has the voice of an angel is just the best thing you could ever hope to hear. It really is timeless, I always think I'm going to grow a little tired of it at some point, but if anything I love it now more than I've ever loved it.

By: The CunningStunt

A1 Debaser
A2 Tame
A3 Wave Of Mutilation
A4 I Bleed
A5 Here Comes Your Man
A6 Dead
A7 Monkey Gone To Heaven
B8 Mr. Grieves
B9 Crackity Jones
B10 La La Love You
B11 Number 13 Baby
B12 There Goes My Gun
B13 Hey
B14 Silver
B15 Gouge Away

Printed inner sleeve and double-sided lyric sheet.
4AD Records, Cat # CAD 905

180g Vinyl