YEAR RELEASED: 1989
CHART ACTION: #98 US, #8 UK
SINGLES: Monkey Gone to Heaven (#5 US Modern Rock, #60 UK), Here Comes Your Man (#3 US Modern Rock, #54 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: What alt-rock fan worth his bones can’t quote this record chapter and verse?
LINEUP: Black Francis, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago, David Lovering
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A commercial breakthrough in the UK, an alternative radio breakthrough in the US, and the launch of the Pixies as a force in the independent world.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The lyrics are still surreal, the guitars are still loud (most of the time), but this time Black Francis’ songs have more of a pop edge to them. They’re short, singable, and memorable. To their credit, this album has never gotten old, no matter how many times you played it.
The two singles were well chosen, as they introduced people to the Pixies’ madness without overwhelming them. But the first four tracks really set the table for the whole thing, especially “Debaser”, where Black Francis screams about that movie by Bunuel and Dali – the one with the eyeball. From there, “Tame”, “Wave of Mutilation” and “I Bleed” follow before you know it.
Again, near the end, the album slows a bit, especially “Silver”. I know Kim Deal was kind of screwed out of songs, but this…well. It’s an acquired taste. The record ends strong with “Gouge Away”, though. Well done through and through.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: This album only cost $40,000 to make. More than worth it.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Oh, yes. Now there are versions with demos, Peel sessions and more.
GRADE: A: Almost, almost the A+. One cut knocks it back. Sorry, Kim.