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Old 08-06-2011, 11:44 AM   #21 (permalink)
 
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Why was Kim Gordon feeling alienated by Black Francis and Kim Deal's relationship?
Just added in a few mistakes to check if people are reading these
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Old 08-06-2011, 11:48 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Just added in a few mistakes to check if people are reading these
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A Night in the Life of the Invisible Man

Time & Place

25 Albums You Should Hear Before the Moon Crashes into the Earth and We All Die


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Old 11-26-2011, 03:30 PM   #23 (permalink)
 
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Trompe Le Monde
Year: 1991
Producer: Gil Norton
Length: 39:01




Track Listing:
1. Trompe Le Monde
2. Planet Of Sound
3. Alec Eiffel
4. The Sad Punk
5. Head On
6. U-Mass
7. Palace Of The Brine
8. Letter To Memphis
9. Bird Dream Of The Olympus Mons
10. Space (I Believe In)
11. Subbacultcha
12. Distance Equals Rate Times Time
13. Lovely Day
14. Motorway To Roswell
15. The Navajo Know


Yes I have procrastinated on this review of an album I originally procrastinated on listening to. Trompe le Monde was the final Pixies studio album and it was also their last studio album that I got. I put off getting this album for a couple of years because of the mixed views associated with it but when I first listened to it I realised that it was not all that bad. Then again it is still a good bit off the likes of Surfer Rosa and Doolittle in terms of quality and consistency and has always been the bottom of the pile in my view when it comes to the four Pixies full-length studio albums. By the time of Trompe le Monde the band had pretty much become Black Francis’ band, this album may as well be a solo album such was his creative control on the band at the time. The sci-fi themes that the band briefly visited on previous album Bossanova had also become more prominent here on this album.

Tromple le Monde starts off rather disappointingly I have to say, especially coming after a string of legendary releases since their 1987 E.P. Come On Pilgrim. Opener ‘Trompe le Monde’ features some nice lead guitar work from Joey Santiago and although it’s not a bad song, there’s nothing else about this song that really grabs you apart from the feeling of unease and tension that seems to be bubbling underneath. It sounds very Pixies-by-numbers in my view. ‘Planet Of Sound’ ranks as one of my least favourite Pixies songs. To me it’s the sound of Francis trying to do something new and different and failing. It sounds lazy and uninspired and the generic classic rock riff of the chorus doesn’t help either. One thing you do notice at this stage though is that the band seem to be aiming for a crunchier and more guitar-driven sound, which works well on some songs and not quite as well on others. ‘Alec Eiffel’ starts to show some promise with its memorable vocal melodies and choppy guitar work. The band throw a curveball in the form of what sounds almost like a choir during the latter half of the song and it somehow adds an odd sense of beauty to the song. ‘The Sad Punk’ is exactly that and it basically sounds like a punk song forced through the strange filter that is Black Francis’ mind. The song slows down during the middle part to add some variety but you can’t help feel that the Pixies can do better than this. Then out of the bag comes a cover of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s snarling ‘Head On’. It doesn’t quite have the menace of the original but it is a welcome cover none the less and the band do it justice.

Another one of my least favourite Pixies songs is ‘U-Mass’. The plodding verses make the band sound like they had really run out of good ideas but the chorus riff saves the song somewhat. It is a pretty good riff I must say, so good Nirvana blatantly ripped it off for the main riff on ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. When Nirvana claimed they were trying to rip off the Pixies with that song they really weren’t kidding. Faring slightly better is ‘Palace of the Brine’ which features a nice driving rock groove, some well-placed backing vocals from Kim Deal and its brief length ensures that it doesn’t outstay its welcome. You still can’t help but feel that this song, and indeed the first half of this album, is below the Pixies’ best and what an underwhelming feeling it is. When ‘Letter To Memphis’ kicks in however things start to look up. This song is a Pixies classic and comes like a great breath of fresh air after the underwhelming first half of the album. This song has all the elements of a Pixies classic, Joey Santiago’s effortlessly melodic guitar playing complementing Black Francis’ vocal hooks and underpinned by a tight rhythm backing from Kim Deal and Dave Lovering. The only downside is that the song seems to end too soon, but what a great song it is. A classic Kim Deal bassline forms the backbone of the next song ‘Bird Dream of the Olympus Mons’. You get the feeling that you are going to be in for a great second half to the album with this fantastic song. But you can’t help think that if the band were as direct with their musical approach during the first half of the album as they were on this song and ‘Letter To Memphis’ the album as a whole could have bettered Bossanova and even be as good as Doolittle. The unhinged ‘Space (I Believe In)’ could have slotted quite easily into Doolittle but at the same time displays the sci-fi connection that seems to run through some of the songs on this album.

Continuing this fine run of songs is ‘Subbacultcha’, a song that dates back to the very beginnings of the band and appeared in its original form on their ‘Purple Tapes’ demo. This version is cleaned up quite a bit but however doesn’t quite have the raw bite of the original version. Kim Deal’s groovy bassline gets right under your skin and makes this song impossible to resist. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ‘Distance Equals Rate Times Time’ adds a punk edge to proceedings but coming after the previous four songs this sounds rather underwhelming and perhaps even pointless. ‘Lovely Day’ features a catchy and almost danceable guitar line and certainly gets the album back on track. The song reminds you what a great guitarist Joey Santiago is how he manages to pull such memorable and melodic guitar lines out of the bag is beyond me. ‘Motorway To Roswell’ is another album highlight featuring Black Francis in fine melodic vocal form and it is probably the mellowest song on the album. Again the directness of this song works so well here and this kind of approach could have saved the first half of the album from being a bit sub-par. One thing you also notice about this song is the directness of the lyrics which seem to actually tell a story in contrast with the manic and difficult to decipher lyrics that Black Francis produced during his Pixies years. The ending piano coda also seems to add a sad tone to the ending of the song. The final song ‘The Navajo Know’ ends the album on a disappointing note however. It’s an awkward type of song and it’s difficult to know what exactly the band were trying to do. The instrumentation doesn’t seem to gel together quite so well and even coming across as a bit messy. After a great second half of the album they could have wrapping things up on a better note but it’s certainly far from a disaster.

Being the last Pixies studio album you can pick out some signs of tension in their music, such as the feeling of frustration that seems to be bubbling underneath in the first song ‘Trompe le Monde’ and the aggressiveness of ‘Space (I Believe In)’. The fact that there was a lot of tension and frustration within the band and that they were on the verge of splitting could have been the main reason for this album being the loudest and most aggressive Pixies album to date, however it may have also led to this album being their least focused. But louder certainly does not always equal better and some of the songs on this album could have benefited more from being better thought-out. Trompe le Monde certainly has its moments; when the songs are good they hit the spot superbly but when they don’t you can’t help but feel underwhelmed. Doolittle or Surfer Rosa it certainly wasn’t but the Pixies still made a good album. Two years later in 1993 the band parted ways and left behind them a great legacy.

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Old 11-26-2011, 08:58 PM   #24 (permalink)
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just for 'Subbacultcha' alone Trompe le Monde is worth it.

idk, to me Trompe le Monde kinda reflects Frank was heading into a different Musical direction, you said it well Zero

"By the time of Trompe le Monde the band had pretty much become Black Francis’ band"

it's so weird, the Pixies peeked as an immature band. what i mean is, fans seemed to like their ealier stuff 'Come on pilgrim & Surfer Rosa' cause it was just Raw angst, don't get me wrong, the innovation and ambition of a Rock band is still apparent even in their earlier songs.. but frank's loud vocals and rebellious attitude overshadowed that, i have a personal theory that by time frank dared not take himself seriously as a singer. not only as singer as a musician too, songs seemed like a Parody of Rock 'n' roll almost trying to defy the structure and perception of what Rock 'n' roll is.. cause see they made Pop Rock but they purposely distorted it..
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Old 11-27-2011, 05:51 AM   #25 (permalink)
 
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Yeah 'Subbacultcha' is definely one of the album's best moments. It's not my favourite version of that song though. I think the song sounds better in rawer form like on Pixies At The BBC and 'The Purple Album', it seems to have more urgency and purpose.

He was heading into new musical territories but really he could only do it on his own and for that he had to either take full creative control of the band or go it alone. The former wasn't going to work out, especially with Kim Deal who had her own band The Breeders, so the band split and he went solo.

I think the band peaked with Doolittle but even by that time I think they had matured somewhat from the chaos of Come On Pilgrim and Surfer Rosa. I think you're right about Black Francis not taking himself too seriously as a musician especially in the early days of the band. It was all pretty much tongue-in-cheek and a crazy sense of humour, they were enjoying themselves as a band as well and just playing around with ideas.
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:22 AM   #26 (permalink)
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One of my favourite bands of all time. Getting all their albums for Christmas (already have "Wave of Mutilation"). Good set of reviews
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:40 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Yeah 'Subbacultcha' is definely one of the album's best moments. It's not my favourite version of that song though. I think the song sounds better in rawer form like on Pixies At The BBC and 'The Purple Album', it seems to have more urgency and purpose.
i prefer the albums version. is way more polished the structure is better, the timing is better, it captured better the ambiance of the song.. that's just my opinion though

i really liked the purple tape (the so called purple tape 2) Version of Number 13 baby.. is so punk-ish, frank vocals are even more crazy!
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Old 11-29-2011, 01:12 PM   #28 (permalink)
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VERY interesting set of reviews.

I'll be honest; I only know Surfer Rosa and although I like the album the group has a whole has never "clicked" for me. I've been looking for a copy of Doolittle to (hopefully) fix this but because I already own Surfer Rosa and Bossanova on vinyl I feel obligated to own Doolittle on vinyl too. And I'm cheap.

In the meantime, I'll give Bossanova another run-through though.
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:29 PM   #29 (permalink)
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In my opinion, this album belongs in the RS100.
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Old 12-25-2011, 04:27 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Good post. Im a big pixies fan...i saw them when they came here in 2010 and it was fantastic.

I discovered them through kim deals "The breeders"

I do prefer the breeders over the pixies, but i rate the pixies as my second favourite act of all time...Number one of corse being the breeders!

My favourite pixies album is surfa rosa..tracks like Something against you ,broken face , bone machine, and oh my golly are just insane.

Im not big on the "catchy" or "entry level" pixies tracks like here comes your man, or where is my mind, they seem to be too well known, and easy to get sick of. Stuff like crackity jones and there goes my gun rank higher in my favourites.

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