If you’re going to be tough on grunge, then you have to be tough on the causes of grunge. In the firing line, the name dropped, the reason we got into that whole damn plaid shirted mess in the first place can be squarely levelled at The Pixies. Hey, they were just four goofy kids making rock music about space abduction and monkeys. NO NO NO. They were two bland nobodies, a junkies sister and a man who – a man who deserves his own paragraph or two of hate:


Not black. Not physically and not in thought, deed, mind or – most importantly – soul. It may be difficult to think of a whiter person ever in pop. Did Black Francis have soul? No but he had a cool collection of Astounding Thrills magazines and dammit if he was not going to write songs about each and every issue. Not only is he responsible for some of the most ridiculous lyrics peddled in good faith to an audience, but he also invented a whole new musical scale. A scale which had been hitherto uninvented because it consisted of five notes all perfectly out of tune with one another. The Pixies apparently suffered when his massive ego took over. Plenty of room inside his massive Humpty Dumpty like form for such an ego, mixed with a weak reedy voice and the ability to wrest notes not humanly imaginable out of a guitar. Some might call this cutting edge, but then there are some people out there who would buy the sound of breaking eggs if they thought it was new (and on Warp).

As an aside about Mr Black – as he became known in his rightfully unsuccessful solo career. How poor he is can be judged by the fact that he wrote a song called Men In Black the year before the film Men In Black came out. Was it on the soundtrack. No sir, they opted instead for two (count ’em) remixes of the titular Will Smith track.

Back to the Pixies however, who were a group and therefore the other three are not wholly blameless. Its true that Ms Deal occasionally penned a track for the band. It is also true that these tended to be sub Throwing Muses affairs which – well if you want me to try and describe what something which is sub Throwing Muses sounds like you have come to the wrong barrel scraper. Rest assured that 4AD’s lovely, easily rippable packaging hid a multitude of sins to the gods of tune and comprehension.

The Pixies were merely Heavy Metal without the conviction or hairstyles to sing about proper metal subjects – like girls, Satan and how your girlfriend is most probably Satan. They wanted to grow up to be a Debaser. They should have ended up in the basement. Bargain that is.