Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Pixies - Doolittle


1989's Doolittle came as a splendid surprise within a decade of mediocre dance music and un-original synth pop. I can sit here and mention the usual suspects, but that would be an incredulous waste of time. Surfer Rosa was released in 1988, and was recorded by on-form engineer Steve Albini. A change of production this time round, but that did not stop the Pixies releasing one of the most influential alternative rock albums of all time. Little fame surfaced from Surfer Rosa, which gracefully gave Pixies breathing space for their second album.  It doesn't take long to understand and appreciate the Pixies influence on popular modern rock music, they've changed the aesthetics with their characteristic alternative rock.

In terms of influence and success, Doolittle is on par with London Calling. Just like The Clash, Pixies deliver an album full of serious, topical, fun tracks. And that is pretty much it, it's an enjoying listen and a listen that screams for more and more attention. You have Blacks screeching screams and layered vocals, Deals pure bass and Innocent voice which captures the art of sound. Of course It would not be complete without Santiago shredding on guitar, et al. But the focus here is on those six/seven tracks of aggressive punk and noise dynamics and single material. Whispers of "Hip's like Cinderella." And the atmosphere drones. Classic is a raw term which has been made weak by mass publications and critics, but Doolittle certainly warrants the musical term.

'Debaser' begins in typical Pixies fashion. Literal topics and exchanging vocals which are ever present. The listener has no time to breath as Santiago makes sure the riffs stay presentable and fashionable ageless. You can really hear the attentive atmosphere which has been furiously splattered in the background. Its technical, fast, short and a welcome back/opening track for Doolittle which never fails to amuse.

Nothing wakes me up better than the screams of 'Tame' by Sir Black Francis. The surrounding instrumental is indeed dynamical, with incredible levels of distortion for Santiago. Black's ferocious chorus vocals and light-hearted verse vocals create a surreal, horrific atmosphere not previously experienced by the human ear. David Lovering's drums  adds that extra bit of power towards the end as the rigorous 'Wave of Mutilation' rips open. Single, verse/chorus/verse and one of the most profound vocals given by Black in his music career. Time passes by quickly as 'I Bleed' descends down upon us with one of the most memorable bass riffs by Kim Deal. She certainly knows how to capture the moment, and this riff, supported by the brill comical flowed vocal stand out on the album as music mountains for the following array of 'indie' bands.

Black is embarrassed with 'Here Comes Your Man', understandably, however it's a catchy tune with a great pop structure. Arguably Pixies most commercial, but it's gripping in all its riffs and vocal refrains. 'Dead' feeds Black with his withdrawn, distorted vocal. The dark lyrical topic is overthrown by the surprisingly happy chorus segment. Listening to Dead will bring back memories of the mid 2000's boom of indie artists re-creating Pixies sound and embarrassing themselves, falling into a memorabilia state of confusion and fake attitudes.

'Monkey Gone To Heaven' is a great surreal track with more guitar drones and recognizable bass riffs, hello Nirvana, we are looking at you. The back half to this track is disturbing with Black screaming "If the devil is six, then the god is seven." This is a vrilliant track with a magnificent structure. Reggae makes, a split occurrence on 'Mr Grieves'. We have that blend of punk and rocksteady. It's not the best of vocals, but the brilliant instrumental makes it worthwhile. 'Crackity Jones' passes in to time with furious drumming and a productive amount of unison material. 'La La Love You' has a great childlike vocal by Kim and Francis. The acoustic guitar stands out with the whistles, you know, the 'dat ass' whistle.

'No.13 Baby' is another one of Kim's great bass pieces. The track is excessively loud as expected with one of the albums best studio effect moments, when Black delivers his absurd vocal. 'There Goes My Gun' echoes round my head for hours whenever I listen to it. Kim's effective backing vocals surpass the slide guitar and reverberation of the drums. 'Hey' is a lovely inclusion towards the end of the album, with its funky bass riff and the finger-happy guitar riff. The track takes off with Santiago's abrasive high pitched guitar. One of my favourite tracks is the Kim Deal special, 'Silver'. Dynamic guitars are nothing to mess with when Santiago and Francis jam out.

The album ends with 'Gouge Away'. Guitars turn to dust and fade and enter almost perfect. The abrasive guitars and melancholy drumming are a splendid end to the Pixies second studio album. Clinic, Nirvana and just about every 90's alt-rock band owe their careers to the Pixies. From the get-go, Doolittle never fails to excite. You do not find many critics panning Doolittle, it's because all the negative doors are shut and pixies only have open two doors, critical success, and influence. 
~Eddie

9.7

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