Shifting to Rough Trade shortly before that troubled label ceased American operations, the Surfers found themselves at something of a crossroads with Pioughd. By this time the 'legend' of the Surfers was taking more precedence than the music itself, resulting in a slightly half-hearted. However, Pioughd included, following its appearance on a single, of their cover of Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man." Played live for a number of years beforehand, it's a great take, Haynes' appropriately trippy vocals floating across a fairly straightforward but still powerful run-through of the music. The group's semi-Black Sabbath obsession reappears with a brief squaller called "No, I'm Iron Man," while "Something" is performed as a hilarious Jesus and Mary Chain parody (bizarrely enough a version of that song was first recorded as a demo in 1983). But aside from the lengthy "P.S.Y.," and the CD-only noise collage "Barking Dogs," Pioughd approaches Surfers-by-numbers -- loopy Haynes vocals and squawks, heavy-duty crunt and guitar grunge from Leary and steady rhythm'n'beats from Pinkus and Coffey. It's fun, but not as engaging as their earlier releases. Rembrandt Pussyhorse and Hairway to Steven's variety isn't apparent, unless you count the country pisstake "Lonesome Bulldog," though it's redone four different times throughout the album -- a sign the band was stretching to fill up the album. As a result, Pioughd's best memories come not from songs but moments in them, as when halfway through "Revolution Part 2" the whole band starts chanting "Garry Shandling" for no particular reason and keeps it up for the remainder of the song's length.
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett