The Pixies meant a lot of things to a lot of different
people... and with their demise in the nineties we all screamed
at what was lost, but as Kim Deal and Frank Black
(or whatever he calls himself nowadays) came out with new bands
we hoped the end wasn't in vain. Whether it was or not, I'm not
going to argue, rather than say that what was the Pixies is now
gone. Let's hope they can capture it again as they get back together.
But while we wait for a new record I have the answer to a question
that was on my mind for the last decade: What ever happened to
In my book Santiago's guitar work with that band rivals some
of the greats. Not because he is some sort of guitar-god, but
because he worked so well with what the others brought to the
table. At times he was a solid backbone for the band, and at others
he was adding an insanely simple yet catchy line as icing to the
cake. It is for his lead guitar work that I most remember him,
and especially on Bossanova, there were some beyond beautiful
moments, compliments of him. And out of all the members of the
Pixies, I always wanted to hear a follow-up from him, and now
I have it in the form of The Martinis.
With the Martinis, Santiago is back at his old tricks, with the
addition of songwriter/singer Linda Mallari. His distinctive
sound is present, and once I heard it I was overcome with a wave
of nostalgia remembering "back in the day". Every song
on this album bears his unique stamp - and is good by virtue of
it - but looking beyond just his contribution, it falls short.
There is nothing inherently wrong with Mallari's songwriting,
all the basic elements for a successful song are here, but there
is just something missing. What it needs is just that extra something
to carry it beyond the humdrum and into the memorable.
Santiago does everything and more to push it in that direction,
but there is only so much he can do. His guitar shifts with the
songs, creating new and different feels for each track, but Mallari's
voice draws it back to a common theme, so that it is hard to stray
into undiscovered country. If anything, her songwriting lends
itself to pop-radio territory, which pulls Santiago more into
the mainstream. I don't mean to be so sour, there are some excellent
songs on this album; "Flyer" nods a little into Kim
Deal-esque vocals, "Right Behind You" has some awesome
guitar work, and "People in the World" has some nice
hooks, but it was "Into the Meadow", a stripped down
piano/vocals song, that captured my attention the most. With no
Joey Santiago, no less!
Ultimately this will be "that other album Joey Santiago
is on", and will get as much play in my CD player as Kim
Deal's other, other band, The Amps (approximately once
or twice a year). But definitely anytime I want to hear his guitar
work it would more than adequately scratch that itch, because
he is just that good.
2. Right Behind You
3. You Are the One
4. New Scene
5. Out Upon the Road
6. Wishful Thinking
7. Walls of Silence
9. Big Three Wheeler
10. People in the World
Into the Meadow
e-mail the chief
Like this article?
it to a friend!