Death To The Pixies


Elektra Records, 1997

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


Kurt Cobain did not hide his love for the Pixies in any way. Had it not been for this band, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" may never have been recorded. Another college rock favorite, Bob Mould, made a deliberate Pixies rip off song with "A Good Idea," off of his watershedding Copper Blue CD.

For as influential as the Pixies were, they never really had an album that fully realized their talents. They came close with Doolittle, but there wasn't a classic album in their collection, like Daydream Nation or New Day Rising.

Thank god for "greatest hits" collections. Sure they can be cheap ways to pour a little more dough into a band's band accounts, but in the Pixies case, it's also the perfect starter for anyone who was facinated by the influence that the Pixies had on other bands, but were not old enough to catch the band live or hear them on college radio stations.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Death To The Pixies his you square in the face with the first song, "Cecilia Ann." Between Joey Santiago's dynamic guitar skills and Black Francis' (formerly Charles Thompson, now Frank Black) backup guitar attack, it's fair to say that the Pixies were not content with remaining a cult band. Their sound was big, and they had the songs to make it big.

The furious assault of each of the musicians were matched by the stern sense of melody. As pulverizing as "Planet Of Sound" is, the bass line by Kim Deal throbs clear as a Beatles bass line. If there was a perfect "Pixies" song, it would have to be "Wave Of Mutilation"; in under three minutes, you get a towering guitar intro and a chorus that's practically impossible to shun off after the first listen.

After the breathless "Wave," a pretty spring-like song, "Dig For Fire" comes on. It's a nice contrast that shows the strong songwriting skills of the band. And it also marks a turning point in Death To The Pixies. From then on, the songs grow more experimental, to the point of where you can tell what songs were Kim Deal-influenced and what songs were all about Black Francis.

That's not to say that the earlier songs had their creative warzones. Thankfully, Death To The Pixies does not follow a strict chronological order. The second has many of the songs on the first disc, but instead the live versions of the songs are performed. The live versions of some of the songs are radically different than the studio recordings, not so much as the sound quality, but the tangents the band hit when they were playing these songs took them on different roads.

With such a talented lineup, it was inevitable that each member wanted to go their seperate directions. Unfortunately, each of the artists made that one great solo album or solo project album and then either faded into obscurity (Breeders anyone?) or were in bands that basically let the musician have their own say(Frank Black). And as history shows, it's usually nice to have a Keith Richards or John Lennon to keep the Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney's of the world in check and vice versa.

For anyone who is interested in how college rock evolved into what is was in the early '90s, there is no closer necessity than Death To The Pixies to purchase. Find out what songs you like the best and pick up the album that has most of those songs on them. Be cautioned however, you'll never look at Nirvana in the same light again.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 1999 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Elektra Records, and is used for informational purposes only.