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NEW KIDS IN TOWN

The Pixies--Impish, Eccentric & Demented

June 19, 1988|CRAIG LEE

Band: Pixies.

Personnel: Black Francis, vocals, guitar; Mrs. John Murphy, bass, vocals; David Lovering, drums; Joey Santiago, guitar.

History: Former L.A. resident Francis dropped out of his Boston college to start a rock 'n' roll band and teamed up with the Philippines-raised Santiago. A newspaper ad netted Mrs. John Murphy (who doesn't reveal her first name to the media), and the group met Lovering through Murphy's husband. They signed with the same manager as Throwing Muses, and wound up on the Muses' English label, 4AD. The group released an incest-themed EP, "Come on Pilgrim" in late '87 before touring Europe with Throwing Muses. The group's recent LP "Surfer Rosa" (distributed by Rough Trade in America) was produced by the enfant terrible of the rock underground, former Big Black leader Steve Albini.

Sound: Francis cites Iggy Pop and Violent Femmes as influences, but aside from a slight Femmes-like snarl in the vocals and the occasional Stooges-like guitar roar, Francis' often phantasmagoric/absurdist lyrical approach is closer to T. Rex surrealism. The mixture of Francis' high-strung vocals, the clanging, charging guitars and the often free-form, disjointed song structures places the Pixies' impish dementia-rock on its own spritely turf. Francis has described himself as a young, dumb kid making noise, and some of the band's more excessive moments seem to bear this out. But other elements (the bizarre chorus of "Bone Machine," the loopy introduction to the raucous "Tony's Theme," "Gigantic's" big pop chorus) show an often rough, chaotic psycho-garage band with enough intuition and wit to join the class of original American rock eccentrics.

Shows: Thursday at Bogart's, Friday at the Roxy.

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