Evaluated by Claude Lemaire
Rating: 9.5/ A
Category: Alternative / Garage Rock / Noise Pop
Format: Vinyl (180 gram LP at 33 1/3 rpm)
. Black Francis - Vocals, guitar
. Kim Deal - Bass guitar, backing vocals (credited as Mrs. John Murphy on "Gigantic")
. Joey Santiago - Lead guitar
. David Lovering - Drums
. 'Produced' and Recorded December 1987 at Q-Division in Boston, Massachusetts by Steve Albini
. Mastered and lacquer cutted at Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in Sebastopole, CA by engineer Shawn Britton on the "Gain 2 System"
. Pressed at RTI in California
. Sleeve Art Direction and Design - Vaughan Olivier at 23 Envelope
. Photography - Simon Larbalestier
This review is best viewed as the first of a two-part; the second being the complementary follow-up Doolittle [MFSL 1-309]; although never putting out a bad album, both of these Pixies releases are generally regarded as their finest work.
The Boston quartet made its first appearance on the scene with the 1987 mini-LP Come On Pilgrim [4AD MAD 709], produced by Gary Smith.
Sandwiched, so to speak, between the U.K. Alternative sounds of the 1980s and the soon-to-be Seattle Grunge sound of the 1990s, the band's unique style ushered in a welcomed return to the high energy acoustic power pop of The Knack and wild zaniness of The B-52's but with the added rawness of hardcore punk; thus paving the way for Nirvana, Nevermind and 'company'.
Although both Surfer Rosa and Doolittle reissues would have made perfect sense coming out on the more eclectic Silver Label series from MoFi; at least we have the added benefit of a heavier vinyl pressing which does not automatically guarantee a superior sound but all else being equal should diminish warpage concerns and increase perceived value.
Not having the original pressing of Surfer Rosa, I limited my evaluation to this reissue. MFSL have done a superb job artistic wise; like many of their reissues, they created a gatefold jacket where one was not offered on the original at the time. MoFi's 'ORIGINAL MASTER RECORDING' signature top band, this time in copper is particularly well chosen in hue to match the sepia-tone framed pictures on the front and back cover; the beautiful white background enhancing even more so, the contrast effect.
He recorded the tracks at 2-Division in their hometown. As customary with MoFi 'post-Anadisc' output, this was 'cut' rather low in level.