18 April 2013

18th April - Pixies' Doolittle

Artist – Album: Pixies - Doolittle
Released: 18th April 1989
Sounds Like: you can hear Kurt Cobain furiously taking note

I may have already been glowing in my review of another Pixies album – their first full length, Surfer Rosa – but would you believe, this one, only their second effort, is even better.

Doolittle comes at you like a whirlwind, allowing only five seconds of ‘Debaser’s’ bass line before we dive in with the distorted guitar, a deceptively simple lick and Black Francis’ manic delivery. In many ways the song is the perfect distillation of all that makes the Pixies special: catchy, almost poppy melodies; quiet/loud dynamics; basic, dominating guitar riffs; and Black Francis versatile caterwaul. It’s a special song, and a brilliant introduction to a special album.

Elsewhere, the group’s unique brand of contradictions – those quiet/loud dynamics, the poppy/abrasive music, the sung/shrieked vocals – isn’t within the same tune, but spread between them. Therefore after ‘Debaser’ we have ‘Tame’, two songs later ‘I Bleed’ and two further ‘Dead’; three of the harshest sounds in the Pixies’ cannon. In between we have ‘Wave of Mutilation’, ‘Here Comes Your Man’ and ‘Monkey Gone to Heaven’ – three would be singles. With each song rarely reaching the three minute mark, anything you don’t like is quickly skipped over, and we zip through the fifteen songs in thirty-five exceptional minutes.

It’s actually quite hard to describe the album without putting some people off – I’ve used words like harsh and abrasive, and presumably titles like ‘Wave of Mutilation’ and ‘Gouge Away’ don’t immediately appeal – and, true, it’s not quite for everybody: you may struggle if you’re a Belieber (like Anne Frank, right?). But it is still highly accessible and, you know, highly awesome. I cannot recommend it enough.

Albumaday... rating:  10/10

1.       Debaser – 2:52
2.       Tame – 1:55
3.       Wave of Mutilation – 2:04
4.       I Bleed – 2:34
5.       Here Comes Your Man – 3:21
6.       Dead – 2:21
7.       Monkey Gone to Heaven – 2:56
8.       Mr. Grieves – 2:05
9.       Crackity Jones – 1:24
10.   La La Love You – 2:43
11.   No. 13 Baby – 3:51
12.   There Goes My Gun – 1:49
13.   Hey – 3:31
14.   Silver – 2:25
15.   Gouge Away – 2:45

Also released on the 18th April:
1994: Pulp – His ‘n’ Hers

Also released on the 18th April:
2000: Elliott Smith – Figure 8

Also released on the 18th April:
2007: Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare

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