The Pixies – Pixies (released on Cooking Vinyl, 2002)
Truly, the anonymously eponymous title The Pixies immodestly disguises something worth trumpeting about. In March 1987, the now seminal but then unknown combo recorded some 18 demos at Fort Apache studios in Boston, Massachusetts under the watchful eye of producer Gary Smith, a local alternative-music obsessive who had previously been responsible for producing the first professional demos for Throwing Muses.
These recordings formed what is commonly referred to in under-the-counter fan circles as “The Purple Tape”, essentially a showcase recording circulated to interested parties in the music business, including 4AD label boss Ivo Watts who duly signed the band and released eight of the tape’s tracks as the Pixies’ official mini-album debut Come On Pilgrim.
This album, then, features the nine remaining and hitherto legally-unavailable songs (a tenth, “Watch What You’re Doin’” remains unheard and safely tucked away under producer Gary Smith’s proverbial mattress) and is notable not only for offering less abrasive renditions of songs which later wound up (literally so, given Steve Albini’s edgier production touch ) on Surfer Rosa but also a studio cover version of “In Heaven” (originally from the film Eraserhead), an earlier, milder working of Doolittle’s prime pop moment “Here Comes Your Man” and the previously unreleased gem “Rock a My Soul”.
It’s often the case that early demos provide a snapshot of a band’s creative genesis but here are the Pixies–Black Francis’s jeepers-creepers vocals and the trademark surf-gone-trash-horror narratives of theophobia, familial perversion and grisly personal injury–in fully grown glory. They got it right from the start.
review from www.amazon.co.uk
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