Even two decades after its initial release, the Pixies’ sophomore album remains a staggering achievement, toning down the group’s arty weirdness just enough for its natural pop sensibilities to shine. And shine they do on this exceptional Mobile Fidelity reissue, remastered at half-speed from the original stereo mastertapes and lovingly pressed onto 180-gram vinyl.
Sonically, the album improves upon even the MoFi SACD—the previous standard in Pixies audio—offering greater depth, more tonal punch, and an impressively forceful low end (dig those booming drums on “La La Love You”). Frontman Black Francis’ frayed-nerves vocals are captured with stunning clarity throughout, particularly on the angular, punkish “Debaser,” where he screams, sighs, and spasms before losing himself completely in manic fits of laughter. “Tame” sets up the soft-loud template that Kurt Cobain would later adopt with Nirvana, beginning with Black’s urgent whisper (“Hips like Cinderella”) before exploding into bloodcurdling shrieks and white-hot guitar shrapnel once the chorus hits. Elsewhere, the group dabbles in fractured surf rock, art-punk, loose-limbed garage, and bastardized doo-wop—wildly disparate textures that are all presented here with analog warmth and clarity.