TITLE: Surfer Rosa
YEAR RELEASED: 1988
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Gigantic (#93 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Vamos, Where Is My Mind, etc. etc.
LINEUP: Black Francis, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago, David Lovering
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The start of…something. The album that no only kick started alternative rock in the 90’s but also started Steve Albini’s production career.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: If I may be so bold, that like most Pixies long-player albums, Surfer Rosa runs out of steam at the end. It seems they always either sequence the weaker cuts at the end, or you’re just so overwhelmed by everything your brain just goes mush.
A little column A, a little column B here.
The first nine songs just pummel you with guitars, words, screaming, lyrics, and noise. It’s tremendous! From the relative quiet (hah) of “Bone Machine” and “Break My Body” to the weirdness of “Something Against You” and “Broken Face”, to the culmination of it all in “River Euphrates”, and then the retreat to relative quiet of “Cactus”, the first part of the album is something to behold.
Of the last four, “Vamos”, a re-do from the EP, is fine, but the other three are lesser lights in comparison. In comparison, because the madness that came before it really had no peer in 1988.
Steve Albini’s production is clean and captures the band at their peak. The secret weapon is Joey Santiago, whose guitar playing is raucous. On stage, though, he looks calm and cool, somehow. How can he pull that off?
NOTES & MINUTIAE: There are a couple of interludes that detract a little bit from the album after you’ve heard them a few times.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No – but it was on a dual CD with Come on Pilgrim in the 90’s
GRADE: A: The 90’s really started here.