Various Artists

Where Is My Mind?: A Tribute to the Pixies

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Where Is My Mind? features emocore, punk-pop, and ska-punk bands paying tribute to one of the best bands of the late '80s and early '90s, the Pixies. Good intentions aside, for the most part the album doesn't do justice to either the Pixies or their supposed disciples. While the Pixies managed to be folky, poppy, surfy, and deranged -- often within the course of one song -- bands like Eve 6 and Local H just don't have that kind of musical scope within their grasp, so songs like "Allison," "Velouria," and "Tame" get flattened and stripped of the sonic twists and turns that made them great in the first place. Eve 6's "Allison" reworks the manic tribute to Mose Allison into pleasant but forgettable coffeehouse pop. Weezer's leaden, chugging rhythm drags the normally buoyant "Velouria" to the ground; the results are an unfortunate postmortem for both groups. Meanwhile, Braid's "Trompe Le Monde," Superdrag's "Wave of Mutilation," the Promise Ring's "Gouge Away," and Local H's "Tame" are all adequate but uninspired mimeographs of the original versions, reproduced so carefully that they sound like especially well-done karaoke. But many of the bands that try to be creative on Where Is My Mind? also end up doing themselves and the Pixies' songs a disservice. Reel Big Fish's transformation of "Gigantic" into a Casio-based dance song is interesting in theory, but annoying in practice, as is the Siren Six!'s skankified "The Holiday Song." The Teen Heroes' ska-vaudeville hybrid of "Manta Ray" fares much better, capturing the song's underlying zaniness, and the Get Up Kids' "Alec Eiffel" brings some of their own energy to a fairly faithful version of the song. Where Is My Mind?'s best moments come from its ballads, with Nada Surf's version of the title track striking the right balance of reverence and creativity. Acoustic bass and guitar and brushed drums mix with hovering synths and bursts of fuzzy guitar for a refreshingly forward-looking take on a great song. The distant, static-y vocal treatment on Far's cover of "Monkey Gone to Heaven" emphasizes the surreal, detached nature of Black Francis' eco-ballad, and the orchestral version of "Caribou" by Sense Field capitalizes on the song's eerie, dreamy beauty. Sadly, moments like these are few and far between. Though Where Is My Mind? covers the group's more obvious, punky moments, it almost completely overlooks the Pixies' mysterious, feminine side -- part of what made them such a complex, compelling, and inspiring group.

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