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Pixies - Trompe le Monde

On September 23, 1991, "Pixies" released their fourth album, "Trompe le Monde". Yes, it also belongs to the "Class of 91'" album series.


The literal translation of the album's name from French means "Fool the World", but the Pixies did not really mean to fool their fans. After a change of direction and the relative softness of "Bossanova", the Pixies returned to their roots with a heavier album that corresponded quite a bit with "Surfer Rosa", but at the same time "Doolittle's" catchy melody can also be found in it. A winning combination that even managed to overcome its inconsistency and allow this formidable band to take one last bow and clear the stage, respectfully, to bands that were influenced by them and conquered the music market during the 1990s.


This is the "swan song" of the Pixies. The band's last album in the classic lineup, with bassist and singer Kim Deal.


The friction between her and Black Francis did not allow the band to continue to exist in its current format and not long after that it would be disbanded by Black Francis, some say via fax. Why are we telling you this? Because Kim Deal's presence on this album is barely noticeable. The trend that began with the previous album "Bossanova", in which Black Francis takes over the entire creative process, exists here as well, only this time Kim Deal's "voice" is barely heard, literally, and her vocal harmony with Francis is almost unnoticeable, to the point that some have called this album "the first solo album of Black Francis. "


Undoubtedly, Francis' takeover and especially the absence of Kim Deal's accompaniment voices have undermined the foundations on which the Pixies' so unique sound is based on. This is probably also the reason why despite the rave reviews of "Trompe le Monde" at the time of its release, for years this album has failed to arouse the respect it deserves, among some of the band's fans. However, as the years go by the consensus around it grows and it proves itself as an excellent album that has passed the test of time very nicely. An album which, although lacks big "hits" like "Gigantic", "Here Comes Your Man" or "Where Is My Mind", manages to remain in the consciousness as one of the masterpieces of this influential band.


The album features a streak of mighty songs, especially in its first half, which is closer in the atmosphere to "Surfer Rosa". It may start quietly and mysteriously, with Joey Santiago's arpeggios wrapped with his flanger effect, that opens up the theme song "Trompe le Monde", but after 8 drum beats by David Lovering, it just explodes on us mercilessly. "Planet of Sound" which was the first single from it with Kim Deal's dominant bass and Joey Santiago's howling guitars slowly becoming angry and powerful. "Alec Eiffel" with the Punk rhythm, released as the third single from the album and was written about the French engineer Alexander Eiffel. "The Sad Punk" which even further increases the tempo on the verge of Hardcore-Punk, but then breaks in the middle into a sort of ballad, as if it were two different songs. The amazing "Head On" which is a cover of "The Jesus and Mary Chain" song and even manages to surpass the original. "U-Mass" with the cruel riff that although very reminiscent of "The Kingsmen" "Louie Louie" or "Wild Thing" which was known thanks to "The Troggs", we have no problem with it. The song was written about the University of Massachusetts where Francis and Santiago met. Francis noted that the riff was written while still studying there. Notice the Cow-Bell and Kim Deal's amazing bass work and do not miss the segment that begins at 1:13 which will surely remind you, in structure and rhythm, of the song that will open another masterpiece album that will be released one day later. "Palace of the Brine" does slow down a bit, but manages to excite and sweep away. "Letter to Memphis" which really sounds like a sequel to "Palace of the Brine" and is a kind of homage to Francis to Chuck Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee".


Then, comes the second half of the album and it seems like we replaced the toughness "Surfer Rosa" with the melody of "Doolittle". The track "Bird Dream of the Olympus Mons" opens with bass and keyboards, without Santiago's sawing guitars but develops into a song with a magical and sweeping melody. It is followed by "Space (I Believe In)", the weirdest song on the album, perhaps the most bizarre of the Pixies, which continues "Bossanova's" experimentalism and even more. There's even a guest player named Jef Feldman, playing the tabla. It is followed by "Subbacultcha" which goes back to the band's early days of the "Purple Tape" from 1987. We are back on track with "Distance Equals Rate Times Time", but immediately return to experimentation with "Lovely Day" which also features Jeff Feldman playing the tabla. We're nearing the end with "Motorway to Roswell" which is without a doubt one of the most beautiful songs on the album and sealing it with "The Navajo Know" which sounds to us like a Surf-Rock song with a New Wave beat from the Eighties.


"Trompe le Monde" is the fourth and final part (until the reunion) of a glorious series of albums, which left a heavy mark on the music world of the 90s. It was released in an unimaginable year, just one day before a90ss like "Nevermind" and "Blood Sex Sugar Magik". In a year when masterpieces albums like "Ten", "Use Your Illusion I & II", "Metallica (The Black Album)", "Badmotorfinger" and more was released, so it didn’t really stand a chance. At the same time, it cannot be ignored that at midnight on September 23-24, 1991, the Pixies proudly transferred the burning torch it lit in 1987, to a band that was very influenced by them and was quite anonymous then, but just a few hours later would change the history of music as we knew it. Until that day.


For Listening: Spotify, Apple Music.


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