Wednesday, August 11, 1999

Tribute

Posted By on Wed, Aug 11, 1999 at 12:00 AM

In the late ’80s, before alternative became the standard cliché it became in the ’90s, a Boston quartet named the Pixies came out of nowhere and pretty much laid out the blueprint for much of the alt-rock to follow. Over the course of five albums, the Pixies blazed a trail and made things a lot easier for those who followed them. Their mix of pop hooks and abrasive guitars, oddball lyrics and screamed vocals has now become such the gold standard that it’s hard to remember when it was a fresh and original sound. However, by the time the general public caught up and the whole thing took off, the Pixies were done. Yet, their influence is probably best summed up by Kurt Cobain’s statement about alt-rock’s monster hit, Nevermind, that all he was trying to do was "make a Pixies album."

Thus the tribute album, Where is My Mind?, is born. This collection showcases one of the main problems with the tribute form. For the most part, the album is full of straight-from-the-tabs cover versions which beg the question: What’s the use? The album is studded with buzz bin talent. Eve 6, Weezer, Superdrag and Nada Surf all contribute tracks that add little or nothing to the originals.

That’s not to say that every track is a carbon copy. Reel Big Fish does well on its new wave dance reading of "Gigantic." Far strips "Monkey Gone to Heaven" down to bare bones and raw nerves. The Siren Six! go ska for "The Holiday Song." Others, such as Local H and the Get Up Kids, give their tracks new energy through the viciousness of their own attacks.

All in all, Where is my Mind? is pretty solid and standard tribute fare; a good tribute to a great band. Definitely worth a listen for the true fan who has the albums, but if not, maybe it’d be better to pick up one of the originals first and hear what you’ve been missing.

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