Pixies - Wave of Mutilation

There's something a little suspect about compilation albums. Something a little insulting, you wonder how the artist feel about somebody going through their back catalogue and picking out what they consider to be the 'best of' their work. You know, "...well this track and this track are OK, but we don't want anything from this album and just this one from that album" and so on. The cheek of it! There's something of an Alan Partridge flavor about them. Remember his response to the query as to which of the Beatles albums was his favorite? "I suppose I'd have to go with, er, Best of the Beatles".

Ordinarily, they have no place in the collection, of course, but there are exceptions to the rule, Pink Floyd's 'Echoes' was fairly respectable, and The Pixies 'Wave Of Mutilation' falls into the just about acceptable category. Just like the Pink Floyd compilation, Wave Of Mutilation is no substitute for owning all the Pixies albums but there has been a lot more care put into the selection than just sticking together a load of their catchiest tunes and launching that upon an unsuspecting market as many lesser record companies would. 4AD don't enjoy their good reputation for nothing.

So, take a look at that track list and the Pixies fan will instantly spot what 4AD have done there. The tracks run in sort of chronological order, and have been carefully chosen to try and give a broad as possible picture as to the full range of their output. From the crashing opening of Bone Machine to the melodic near-AOR of their cover of Neil Young's Winterlong, the whole album hangs together in a lovely way. Wisely, 4AD have also plundered the Complete B-Sides so as well as the aforementioned Winterlong you also get the pounding and thudding of Into The White for your cash. Hell, you even get a neat little booklet telling you which albums the songs are lifted from. It's the small details that count with things like this and a nicer introduction to the pixies you couldn't ask for.

Of course, Monkeys Gone To Heaven Is On There, as is Debaser and Wave Of Mutilation. The excellent thing about The Pixies is how timeless they sound. If you're new to them, or haven't listened to them in many a year, you're in for a shock at just how fresh and new they still sound. The lilting bass of Here Comes Your Man still sticks in you're head instantly, and the raw desperation of Nimrod's Son still sends a shiver up the spine. You can, of course, as with all compilations, play the game of moaning about which tracks have been left off, of which there are many, but with only one CD to fill, 4AD have done a wonderful job. There's 23 tracks and not a duff one among them. Not many compilations can claim that with a band with as small a lifespan as The Pixies had.

The trouble is, with a band like The Pixies, you'd be much better off with Come On Pilgrim or the classic Surfer Rosa as your first purchase. This is useful as far as a taster goes, but you're soon going to be hungry for more. As a taster, though, it's superb on that level and if you're a compilation type of person, then get this at once. For everybody else, seek out the back catalogue because you're probably going to end up buying them all eventually anyway.

Also out on Monday, of course, is the excellent DVD, simply entitled Pixies which contains yet more fantastic stuff. It's reviewed over at the DVD Times.

As a special sort of celebration to celebrate all things Pixies, we have a small give away for you. We have some small Pixies button badges to give away. They've been launched to promote 4AD's excellent new website and they proudly proclaim that the wearer loves the Pixies. They're fab and sure to be highly sought after by Pixies collectors and will one day surely fetch fortunes on E-Bay*. Given their scarcity and sheer desirability, we only have ten to give away and to get one, all you need do is be one of the first ten people to leave a comment below.

*This bit might not be true.

By leaving a comment in the comment box in order to claim your badge, you are also declaring that you have READ and UNDERSTOOD this IMPORTANT bit below.

PLEASE BE SENSIBLE and DON'T leave your name and address in the comments boxes below, OK?. Once we have the ten comments, we'll let you know how to let us know where to send the badge. It doesn't matter what you leave in the box - just type 'Badge' if you can’t think of anything to say. If you just wish to leave a comment, or an insult, and don't want a badge at all, then please say so and we will not count your comment as a part of the badge stampede. If you desperately want a badge more than anything else in the world and have not registered and in the time it takes to register, all the badges get claimed, then that's just too bad. We reserve the right to replace your Pixies badge with the badge of a lesser band, person, product or event, should any of the badges get lost in our care while we wait for ten people to register and leave comments. No cash alternative is available, and should there be any confusion or fuss over the order of comments left, the judges will make a decision which will be final and binding. And if your badge gets lost in the post, then there’s nothing we can do about that. No correspondence will be entered into. It's not a competition; it's just a bit of fun to pass the time, mmm'kay?




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