CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEW: SURFER ROSA

Almost every indie rock band that has come to the forefront owes a considerable amount to the Pixies. The Boston-based quartet effortless amalgamates brash rock, grunge, and psychedelia into a record that is still played and listened to today. The band was formed in a collegiate environment. Consisting of Black Francis, Kim Dpixies1eal, Joey Santiago and David Lovering conceived the band at the University of Massachusetts, signifying that the Pixies predate the monumental rise of Nirvana and the rock
boom of the 1990’s. Like the majority of indie rock bands, the Pixies were never a chart, mainstream force and nor were they ever destined to be. However, after the release of ‘Surfer Rosa’ in 1988, the band enjoyed and rightfully earned accolades. Produced by Steve Albini, many were labeling the album a hidden gem, with icon Kurt Cobain citing the album as the inspiration for Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ sensation.

 The record possesses a very desolate set of lyrics as references to incest, violence and molestation evident throughout. Combing 

PIXIESpiercing rock guitars, stop-start technicalities and male-female intertwined vocals similar to the xx, the Pixies have managed to create one of the most influential records to date. The record begins with sumptuous track ‘Bone Machine’, building up from an intro of just drums and singular, simple almost morse-code bass-line. One of the highlights of the record is ‘Gigantic’. Written and sung by Kim Deal, the track shows that the band was more than capable of executing hook-laden pop track. Tracks like ‘Gigantic’ allowed for artists to become influenced. Think of tracks such as ‘Lounge Act’ from Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ album for instance. Like all the best, memorable albums, ‘Surfer Rosa’ has a memorable, pertinent and evocative cover. The image of the topless dancer is the astute representation of the album – sumptuous, unusual and laden with provocative imagery.

Like the majority of underground records, the album was widely ignored upon its release, as was most artistry that came from obscure scenes back in the 80’s. However, it is the testament that the band certified gold in the US in 2005. It is also the representative of the fan base and unfaltering popularity the Pixies have acquired, something that led to their reunion in 2004. The Pixies were hyped as the band to bring indie, grunge rock to the mainstream listeners, however, they laid the foundations for the explosive rise of bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Surfer Rosa made substantial inroads into the mainstream charts of both the UK and the US and it is an indication to just how good the Pixies are that people still talk about them.

Audiophile-Pixies-David-Lovering-007

Words by Matthew Thomas

Released: March 1988

Produced by: Steve Albini

Tracklist

01. Bone Machine

02. Break My Body

03. Something Against You

04. Broken Face

05. Gigantic

06. River Euphrates

07. Where Is My Mind?

08. Cactus

09. Tony’s Theme

10. Oh My Golly!

11. “…You Fuckin’ Die”

12. Vamos

13. I’m Amazed

14. Brick Is Red

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