Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Surfer Rosa/Come On Pilgrim - Pixies



Album Review -

First of all let’s get the Surfer Rosa/Come On Pilgrim issue out of the way. Yes I know that they are 2 separate pieces of work, Come On Pilgrim (mini album) released September 1987 and Surfer Rosa (debut album) released March 1988. However when I bought the album on CD, both albums were included on the same disc so I do not differentiate between the two, I see them as one brilliant and seamless album.

I was first introduced to Pixies in 1988 whilst living in Liverpool. One of my house mates, Tony Paris, had bought the tape of Surfer Rosa and lent it to me. I must have played that tape about a thousand times and probably wore it out! The music on Surfer Rosa was different from anything I’d heard before. The progression in chords, majors to minors, sharps to flats on places where they shouldn’t be! Of course now it’s common place, listen to Nevermind by Nirvana and Pixies influence is written all over it.

The image of the band was also different. Pixies were not trying to be rock stars or rock gods, there were just a group of very talented normal looking people who wouldn’t turn a head if you passed them in the street. In fact the reason they chose the name ‘Pixies’ is because the wanted the least rock n roll band name that they could come up with, joking that it was either ‘Pixies’ or ‘Lords Of Destruction’!

All of the songs on this album have something about them, all classics. Obviously I have favourites and least favourite songs, this does not mean that the least favourites are rubbish. For instance I’ve never really liked ‘Gigantic’ probably because my name is Paul and I always hated the way Kim Deal would sing ‘Hey Pawl, Hey Pawl, Hey Pawl, let’s have a Bawl’. But it is a pop masterpiece.


I’ve seen Pixies live many times. Here are a few memories of live performances.

First saw Pixies at Glastonbury at about 1400 in the afternoon. They had been on tour with the Throwing Muses as a 4AD package. At Glastonbury they played before the Throwing Muses as was the order of appearance on tour. As Pixies popularity increased it was Pixies who, by the end of the tour, were headlining!

National Ballroom – Kilburn (Doolittle Tour) – The band played their set backwards. They came on, played ‘Into The White’, their usual encore and then walked off for 10 minutes whilst we cheered and clapped, trying to get them back on the stage. They eventually can back on and completed the set list, backwards!!!

Gloucester Leisure Centre (Bossanova Tour) with Andy Tubb and Lizzie Weller. I remember sitting on the lighting scaffolding at the back of the hall whilst the support band ‘Bark Market’ played. To our left, sitting on the same scaffolding was Black Francis! I didn’t say anything to him, I just was very, very aware!

Reading Festival – 1990 (Bossanova) – Whilst trying to get the best view of the band we, or Lizzie ended up sitting on top of an Ice Cream van!!! (Lizzie can you verify this? Or was it The Fall??).

Other gigs included the Trompe Le Monde tour, Crystal Palace Bowl, supported by Ride and finally Reading 2005 after they had reformed.

Something Against You - 1988

Caribou - 1988

Ed Is Dead – 1988

Broken Face – 1986


  1. Didn't think it would take long for this masterpiece‘s inclusion here, without it my life would have gone in a totally different direction!
    Now, for the record, I was at Kilburn, it was my first ever gig, a fact I am very proud of considering the mushy girlie pap bounded around in the 80s....Gloucester was when I stole a bin from the foyer and placed it in the crowd & stood on it, it was also where we watched Frank sell his posters during the support! Reading festival, was a burger van, the chap working inside wasn't too happy but me and the hippie on top were!

  2. 1988? I was probably listening to the theme from Ghost Busters over and over again on a tape that Ray Boxshall recorded for me. It annoyed James, so was fun.
    I ain't afraid of no Ghost!

  3. Matt, I remember you and James being allowed to wear your Christmas elasticated bottomed trousers to midnight mass as a treat!!!

  4. Hi, You see I consider Doolittle a far more rounded album than SR/COP.. Don't get me wrong SR/COP is amazing, there are some brilliant tracks; Where is my mind, gigantic, Holiday Song, Nimrods son, I've been tired and Levitate. Yet if you listen to Doolittle it's more consistent sounding. Maybe more commercial I'm not sure. I just think it hits the mark more than SR/COP.