Flipsides to epochal singles from one of the most influential bands of the last twenty years...
Paradoxically, it was the Pixies-inspired American alternative renaissance that sowed the seeds of the Boston quartet’s destruction. Had Nirvana never happened – and ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ owes everything to Black Francis’ sense of proportion and propulsion – chances are they’d be [I]huge[/I] right now. This, though, is to disregard the sheer wilfulness that nestles alongside a sense of populist rock’n’roll and art-school theatrics at the heart of the group, a refusenik vision that can be more clearly seen on this artefact.
Pixies were standard-bearers for an independent ethos and sensibility that’s all but disappeared. And they were a
shit-hot rock group. B-sides, by nature, seldom do a group justice, and are mostly treasured by devoted fans, archivists and unbalanced people, but there’s some quality here; a willingness to loosen up, and even throw away gems that should’ve been singles.
Hear Black Francis roar, way before he became Frank Black, on ‘River Euphrates’ and Kim Deal deadpan her way through the snowblind ‘Into The White’ and it’s still an awakening of sorts. From the perspective of an overview, though, while the lovely surf version of ‘Wave Of Mutilation’ and the humorous – if entirely serious – Spanish translation of the Yardbirds’ ‘Evil Hearted You’ still seem fresh, they’re both, like most songs here, of a particular time. A long-gone time that ain’t coming back – but might just live on as a spur and touchstone for others.