Doolittle by Pixies
Its become somewhat clichéd, but never-the-less is true: Doolittle is, by far
and away, one of the best and most influential alternative rock albums.
Ever. This 1989 sophomore effort from the Boston foursome, produced by
Gil Norton (Foo Fighters, Counting Crows), attempts to clean up and polish
the abrasive and unpredictable nature established on the Pixies
breakthrough debut, Surfer Rosa. And it works! In spite of the fact that
Surfer Rosa was a masterpiece in its own right, Doolittle truly stands out as
the moment when everything clicked (and, internally, fell apart) for the
band. The right sound at the right moment, its influence has echoed on for
two decades and counting, and still holds up today as a perfectly crafted
alternative rock album with infectious pop-hooks and a scattering of
schizophrenic left-turn sounds.
On the song-writing front, output from the one and only Black Francis has
been stepped up a notch. With songs that revel in biblical themes, death
and twisted love, Black is able to explore a broad range, with his ever -
urgent and frantic vocals. It serves the punky Gouge Away and Debaser,
and pays off even better on poppier fare such as La La Love You and Hey
and not to mention the irresistible hooks of the single Here Comes Your
Man. Monkey Gone to Heaven is possibly the best marriage of the albums
refined sound with that which made the Pixies remarkable in the first place.
Despite treading new territory sonically, the band plays just as fast and as
tight as before, driven home by the somewhat polished production
achieved by Norton. While admittedly less spacey than its predecessor,
there is rarely a moment where the Pixies as a whole doesnt push new
boundaries. Even if youre of the mind who appreciates Surfer Rosa more,
its worth noting that the progress made on Doolittle is hardly in vain, as it
only showcases a band honing its craft. Its simultaneously an exercise in
pop-efficiency and well as being a true ground-breaker.
For an album that turns 20 this year, its quite amazing how well it all holds
up. No matter how many times you take it for a spin, you ll always find
something new to appreciate. Its just one of those rare albums that is
perfect from start to finish, from a band that played in its own league and
who werent afraid to take risks. If you like your music manic and
unpredictable, well-made and well-played, Doolittle is a true classic that no
collection could be complete without.
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