His vocal style has varied from a screaming, yowling delivery as lead vocalist of Pixies to a more measured and melodic style in his solo career. His cryptic lyrics mostly explore unconventional subjects, such as surrealism, incest and biblical violence, along with science fiction and surf culture. His use of atypical meter signatures, loud-quiet dynamics and distinct preference for live-to-two-track recording in his career as a solo artist give him a distinct style within alternative rock.
As frontman of Pixies, his songs (such as "Where Is My Mind?" and "Debaser") received praise and citations from contemporaries, including Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Nirvana's Kurt Cobain. Cobain once said that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was his attempt to "rip off the Pixies". However, in his solo work and records with the Catholics, he received fewer publicized popular and critical accolades.
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