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Come On Pilgrim

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Album Review

Amazingly, the Pixies' 1987 debut EP, Come on Pilgrim, was compiled from the quickly, inexpensively made demo tape — paid for by Black Francis' dad — the band made at Boston's legendary Fort Apache studio soon after they formed. 4AD was so taken with the tape that they released eight of the songs as this mini-album. It's easy to see why they were so impressed: The Pixies' essential sound — Francis' unearthly shriek of a voice, David Lovering's propulsive drumming, Joey Santiago's insistent, prickly guitar playing, and Kim Deal's sugar-and-sandpaper vocals and steady basslines — arrives fully formed on songs like the bouncy, yet twisted, surfer-girl ode "Ed Is Dead." Influences like '80s college rock peers the Violent Femmes, the Stooges, Lou Reed, and hardcore punk crop up on songs like "I've Been Tired," the group's surreal take on sexual frustration, and "Isla de Encanta." Most importantly, the EP introduces the spooky, theatrical vision the group brought to their simple guitar-bass-drums lineup. Francis' lyrical fetishes for sex, death, and religion and his twisted sense of humor crop up on every track, from the eerie opener "Caribou," which urges listeners to "Reeeeepent!," to the final song, "Levitate Me," which borrows Christian folksinger Larry Norman's catchphrase: "Come on pilgrim, you know he loves you!" "The Holiday Song" and "Nimrod's Son" provide voyeuristic, back-to-back glimpses at incest, as well as the priceless lyric, "My sister held me close and whispered to my bleeding head/You are the son of a motherf*cker" (from "Nimrod's Son"). Gary Smith's less-is-more production allows the full, primal impact of the band's combustive sound to blast through, offering what may be the purest version of their perverse punk-pop. An electrifying debut, Come on Pilgrim remains as raw, vibrant, and engaging as the day it was recorded.

Customer Reviews

Why are there two of the same album?

And what's the difference? Just the color of the album art?

Best songs off the "Purple Tape" for sure

"Come On Pilgrim" was actually compliled by Ivo Watts-Russell at 4AD Records from the 17 song "purple tape" demo the Pixies recorded. SpinArt Records released the other 9 songs from the tape back in 2004 on a CD simply titled "The Pixies" (some of these songs went on to be re-recorded and used on other Pixies albums in one form or another.) Too bad iTunes doesn't have "The Pixies". It's a must for diehard fans. Given that, "Come On Pilgrim" is still a classic record - and one well worth owning.

Underrated, but the best Pixies album by far

Its the best because every song is worth 5 stars. There is not one bad song at all. This album just defines the Pixies' sound. The album has such a sound of excellent raw power and just purely a raw sound with no remastering or effects put in. The frontman, Frank Black, wanted such a pure sound that he recorded some guitar tracks in his closet. But this album is just such a great one to get to know the Pixies and their style. There are also only 8 tracks, and nearly every song is under 3 minutes, so it won't take long to listen to the whole album, but you should listen to the whole album at once. That way you can hear the greatness of this album.


Formed: 1986 in Boston, MA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Combining jagged, roaring guitars and stop-start dynamics with melodic pop hooks, intertwining male-female harmonies, and evocative, cryptic lyrics, the Pixies were one of the most influential American alternative rock bands of the late '80s. They weren't accomplished musicians -- Black Francis wailed and bashed out chords while Joey Santiago's lead guitar squealed out spirals of noise. But the bandmembers were inventive, rabid rock fans who turned conventions inside out, melding punk and indie guitar...
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