Pixies’ ‘Trompe le Monde’ at 30: the original lineup’s final album is still a blast
Following the subdued and very surfy Bossanova, Black Francis, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago and David Lovering cranked things back up seriously with their fourth album in four years -- and last for this original lineup of the Pixies. Trompe Le Monde is Pixies' loudest, noisiest album. It's also one of their most fun, with Black Francis' flights of fancy heading even further out into outer space, aided by keyboardist Eric Drew Feldman who adds flying saucer keyboards to much of the record. Their punky cover of The Jesus & Mary Chain's "Head On" was the album's hit, but Trompe le Monde is jam-packed with Pixies-penned classics, the best of which were not chosen as singles: "U-Mass," with it's monster riff and chorus of "It's educational!"; "Space (I Believe In)" another guitar crusher with a memorably weird vocal hook ("Jefrey with one F, Jef-rey!"); and poppier tracks like "Letter to Memphis" and "Motorway to Roswell." Kim may not have any songs here (The Breeders were in full affect by this point), but her flinty basslines give much of the album its edge. Pixies' subsequent break-up, following a 30-date opening slot on U2's Zoo TV tour, has colored the album a bit, but 30 years later Trompe le Monde is a helluva way to go out.
To celebrate the occasion, 4AD has given the album a new vinyl pressing on cool-looking marbled green vinyl that echoes its Vaughan Oliver-designed eye-grabbing artwork. You can pick it up in the BV store, and listen to the album below.
Pixies have also made a new animated lyric video for "Planet of Sound":
On Thursday (9/23), which was the 30th anniversary of Trompe le Monde's UK release, guitarist Joey Santiago participated in a Tim's Twitter Listening Party for the album, where he mainly stuck to discussing guitar solos. "A critic said my guitar playing on Bossanova (the album before Trompe le Monde was released) was too simple. Wtf?!," Joey says of the album's title track, which opens the album. "I looked for an opportunity to do some fret tapping. This was the song to do it on. Triplets to boot."
Joey said that the solo in "The Sad Punk" "sounds a bit like Femme Fatale. Therefore it is good," and notes that on "Bird Dream of the Olympus Mons" that the "wind is my wah pedal making noise." He admits to "sneaking the James Bond riff" into "Subbacultcha" and that he "did it again at another song. You all should look for it."
While Santiago doesn't rate any of the songs on the album, in regards to "Distance Equals Rate Times Time," he admits, "Gotta be honest with you. I don’t enjoy playing this." On the other hand, he says he loves playing "Motorway to Roswell" live. "Good bass playing Kim!!!"
You can replay Joey's full Twitter Listening Party here.