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Saturday, January 25, 2014

430 of 1001 Albums: Pixies' Bossanova

Pixies have some of the best guitar riffs I've heard in an album on their album, Bossanova. The singer also has a great voicing, and the instrumental arrangement was enjoyable. They also seemed to go with the space theme that is prominent on the album cover. I've heard of the Pixies before, but I hadn't ever listened to them, so hear is my first listen from the Pixies.

History: Pixies are an American band that released their fourth album on a British label. This would bring the album to be a hit in the U.K where it was marketed. The album as it's roots in space and surf rock with an uniquely combined sound. The album would spawn a couple of singles, and would hit the charts in the U.S., but not quite as powerfully as it did in the U.K. Critics mostly would give the album positive reviews, but there were some who weren't as receptive to the album.


Vocals: Black Francis is the vocalist of the group, and the primary songwriter for the album. Francis has good vocals that fit in with the vibe of the album. The vocalist doesn't have an overwhelmingly huge voice, but it keeps in line with the rock. Francis can't outshine the instrumentals though, but when the music winds down a bit like in "Havalina" his voicing does get the ability to show out a bit more than in the other tunes before it.

Instrumentals: With fourteen songs on the album it does leave more room for some songs to not shine as much as other ones on the album. Kim Deal is on bass guitar, David Lowering on drums, Joey Santiago on lead guitar, , and Francais is also on guitar. My assumption is that Santiago is attributed with the guitar parts I heard and really liked since he is the lead guitarist.  "Velouria" was one of my favorites on the album because it was the moment that something about the album began to really shine. The vocals were good, but the way the surf rock guitar sounds mesh into the tune are very catchy.

Recording: The band went through a lot of transitions to record. From moving around the U.S. to moving to a different country, the band was on a mission to piece together what they wanted to record. This did lead the band to where they would land with a record company as well. The album was recorded in 1990, and since then the album has aged well. It doesn't sound too dated to the 90's to be completely not appealing to someone who is listening to music now and discovering it, plus there are attributes to the instruments that shows talent that is transcending time.

There were certain songs I really enjoyed, but the album as a whole isn't something I would re-listen to again. I think the band achieved the vibe of the space theme they were going for, but this also did leave me feeling unattached as well. I can't really emotionally invest in lyrics that discuss sci-fi. I do enjoy the instrumentals though and feel a lot of the composition works to show case the talent of the group.

Rating 8 of 10.


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