Pixies: Doolittle 25

The finest gothic surf album ever, with added bonus tracks.

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In common with plenty of reunited bands, Pixies have now been together as a reformed entity longer than they existed in their original form. Not that they’ve managed to survive the process unscathed – bassist Kim Deal has been replaced several times after old wounds between her and vocalist Black Francis resurfaced as the band returned to the studio.

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Now, the band’s standout release has turned 25 and to mark the occasion it’s got the full deluxe reissue treatment, with discs dedicated to demo versions of the album and Peel Session tracks.

The demo disc is sequenced in the same order as the complete album, despite some recordings dating back to 1986, and features Francis dialling back his ‘man possessed’ vocals a notch. The arrangements are in place but sound tentative and demonstrate producer Gil Norton’s fine job in transforming them into chrome-plated monsters. One superior take is the Peel version of Wave, slowed down to an ethereal roll.

The first thing that’s glaringly apparent from the full album is how little it has aged – it remains a touchstone for anyone attempting to marry 60s melodies with millennial intensity and has influenced dozens of current acts, from Savages to Biffy Clyro.

What has possibly been forgotten down the years is what a great pop album Doolittle is. Amid it’s dark layers, Deal’s prowling bass and Francis’s macabre lyrics lurk Wave Of Mutilation and Here Comes Your Man – indie disco staples that sound disturbingly, erm, happy.

Johnny Dee

Johnny Dee is a freelance copywriter, creative and journalist. He's been published The Times, The Independent, Q  NME, Q, Smash Hits, The Word as well as in The Guardian, writing pieces for G2, online and The Guide, where he edits the weekly back page feature Infomania. He's got a long history as a music journalist and is also fond of sport (currently contributing to Runner's World and FourFourTwo).