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Gouge Away (Review)

A memorable cut from 1989ʼs Doolittle LP is grungy Gouge Away. Its persistent beat digs gradually deeper as electric guitars drone in the distance, occasionally shrieking with dissident outbursts. A clear point of reference for Nirvana's Nevermind, the moments of sparseness in the song are driven by guitar and bass, doused in slap-back delay and gated reverb. Combined with Francis' unpredictable vocal style, which steadily builds in intensity, this arrangement draws the listener in with its intimate and somewhat claustrophobic sound.

"Gouge away, stay all day if you want to," taunts Francis. The line is perhaps as much a challenge as an invitation. As the song progresses, angsty images of recklessness and debauchery are conjured. "Chained to the pillars, a 3-day party, I break the walls, and kill us all with holy fingers." While many rumors suggest that Gouge Away is a reference to heroin addiction, others would venture that its true meaning was in keeping with the biblical theme of the Doolittle LP. Supposedly, it is the story of Samson and Delilah; a tale of the battle between strength and deceit.

As the chorus erupts into a cacophony of crash cymbals and blown out guitar amps, Gouge Away is a track that will not, and cannot, be restrained. The anticipation, and sheer tension created in the haunting verses hints at the ominous storm to come. The song is like an addict, trying to hold itself back from a self-destructive fate that is worse than death itself.

Gouge Away is a band aid, covering up a wound that runs deep within discontent, angst-ridden youth. The Pixies ripped this band aid off in 1989, and what they revealed was a beautiful mess we now call grunge.

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

— MK

The Pixies are one of those bands that manage to appeal to an extremely diverse cross section of society. As time passes, they claim an even greater entitlement to their reputation as one of the coolest American indie/alternative bands in history. Referenced openly by contemporary acts such as Placebo and Nirvana, and featured in the soundtracks to groundbreaking films such as Fight Club, this Boston band formed in Massachusetts in 1986. Members Black Francis, Joey Saniago, Kim Deal, and David Lovering succumbed to a spiraling demise of post 80s excess in 1993. The group disbanded for a time, before reuniting in 2004.

Gouge Away (Lyrics)

Gouge away 
You can gouge away 
Stay all day 
If you want to

Missy aggravation 
Some sacred questions 
You stroke my locks 
Some marijuana 
If you got some

Gouge away 
You can gouge away 
Stay all day 
If you want to

Sleeping on your belly 
You break my arms 
You spoon my eyes 
Been rubbing a bad charm 
With holy fingers

Gouge away 
You can gouge away 
Stay all day 
If you want to

Chained to the pillars 
A 3-day party 
I break the walls 
And kill us all 
With holy fingers

Gouge away 
You can gouge away 
Stay all day 
If you want to

Contact Information:

The Pixies 
pixiesmusic.com 
facebook.com/pixiesofficial

Gouge Away (Studio)

 

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