This is a great representation of how the alternative music leading later on to the success of Nirvana was evolving. No doubt influenced by Art Rock bands such as The Velvet Underground, the Pixies created this record which is one of their earliest releases. It is seen as a classic in retrospect, created (allegedly) by a bunch of people who didn’t really like each other. In any case, this should be an interesting listen, so let’s dive into it. The album cover has a semi-nude flamenco dancer on the front, probably inspired by the influence of Spanish culture onto the band.
We kick off with Bone Machine which has a neat drum part, groovy basslines and some odd guitar riffs. It is a decent tune to listen to, although there is very little traditional structure here. It reaches an unusual climax perhaps referring to a male being sexually aroused, and the mixture of Black Francis and Kim Deal’s vocals make for some different and weird listening. The bloodcurdling screams from Black Francis make this piece a different listen, with some unusual harmonies at the end of this piece. It ends with the phrase repeated throughout, “Your bone’s got a little machine.” How original.
Next here is Break My Body which begins with a drum intro, before launching into a strange sounding piece that sounds very Punk like. There are some odd moaning sounding vocals in the background here. This album is produced by contemporary Steve Albini, who makes this piece come alive, just. With odd lyrics that are highly artistic here, this is a quirky and different listen. Very short and artistic.
Something Against You has some really weird guitar parts as an intro, before rolling drumbeats and weird extra guitars enter. It is a short piece at under two minutes long, and sounds really weird and discordant listening. It builds up in intensity and could easily be a weird prototype for Nine Inch Nails on this record. It has a distorted vocal throughout, and concludes with this as well.
Broken Face begins with some hi-hats and weird semi-falsetto vocals, before launching into a very Punk styled piece that sounds like The Sex Pistols. In any case, it is entirely original here and sounds really fiery and direct, and artistic too. It ends with sustained guitars.
Next here is Gigantic which begins with drum sticks being hit and some loose bass guitar parts, before Kim Deal begins singing and this piece gets underway. This track definitely has a proto-Grunge feel to it, and no doubt inspired future artists such as Alanis Morrissette. There are a bunch of awesome overdriven guitars that play simple fills here. Repeated vocals throughout the second half, before the overdriven guitars return to steal the show. This song concludes gently.
Following is River Euphrates which begins with some loose sounding drumming and more weird guitars, somewhat reminiscent Industrial music here. Some weird wordless harmonies enter, before the two major personalities here join in to sing, creating a strange sense of rivalry here. Really good listening in that sense, although very really weird. In any case, a weird song that makes little sense. Some screaming at the end is intense.
Where Is My Mind? begins with a loose harmony from Kim Deal, Black Francis saying, “Stop!” and strummed acoustic guitars entering. Eventually the harmonies return and this song gets underway. This is a more song based piece but still sounds very artistic and weird. This is more texture and impact than anything musical on this song, and record too. Really different and weird, it’s not a Pop music piece, just plain odd. It ends with the repeated harmonies being doused with a load of reverb.
Cactus begins with some rather atonal, muted guitar parts and some weird sounding vocals. Some simple rhymes and mixture of singing sound different here. This is a very weird piece of music, only really tolerable if you love weird. It’s good but not really that good to be fair. It has a weird mixture of sound, before concluding quickly.
Next here is Tony’s Theme which is a much better piece than the previous song which is an amusing piece about a superhero. To be fair, this is an album for music fans of the out there. It sounds like The Surfaris on speed, really odd. In any case, this is a fresh and different listen, but full of unusual structures. Great though.
After that is Oh My Golly! which begins with some syncopated drums and bass guitar, before launching into another punchy sounding piece that is very art school Rock here. A really different listen, this certainly sounds strange. It is a very Punk like piece here, just sounding very different. It fades out, before some studio chatter here is here, which is nonsensical.
Vamos begins with some feedback, muted acoustic guitars and has some Spanish here, which is unusual. A kick drum beat then enters, and we are underway. This launches into a fast and Punk sounding piece that sounds different, with a really odd lead guitar break, more comical than the Dead Kennedys ever did. A really powerful listen, there is some screaming in the background that should have been in the foreground. Some weird guitar parts that are, quite frankly, awful then play. A proper lead guitar break would have been a better option, instead of random feedback for the most part. These annoying and horrid sounding parts are persistent throughout the track, and are quite awful here. Eventually, the drumming gets more to the forefront and random screams enter. This is merely a jam that does not sound that good at all, and is saddening in that respect. It ends with a surprise finish, and this is definitely worth skipping. Four minutes of torture.
I’m Amazed has Kim Deal talking on microphone about sexual partners she had in the past (honestly, why?) and the track continues on without warning, sounding merely like an extension of the previous track. This music is too weird to be enjoyable, and it is quite clearly unless you like to bother people with weird music tastes, don’t bother with this rubbish. Some more vocals in the background are here, and fortunately this piece ends quickly.
Last is Brick Is Red which is a two minute long piece. It sounds better than the last two, and to be fair, is also appalling. This record is a real disappointment to the ear and just sounds like the musical equivalent of the worst Jackson Pollock paintings he ever made. In any case, this album needs to be listened to once to hear the atrocity of it, before throwing it straight into the bin. Awful and not inspiring.
This is not a normal listen. It’s difficult to hear and makes no sense, just sounding like a terrible Garage band who don’t know what they are doing specifically. A real disappointment, no wonder Steve Albini regretted working with these guys on their record. For all the input, it falls flat. Avoid, unless you want a weirder recording to hear than the first album by The Velvet Underground.
Weird, and not wonderful.
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