Wave of Mutilation (Review)

Wave of Mutilation, taken from the Pixies 1989 album Doolittle, breezes from the speakers in a wash of glistening distortion. Riding on an uptempo, punk driven rhythm section, the band exudes a clumsy enthusiasm that is beautifully juxtaposed by the hazy vocal duet of Black Francis and bassist Kim Deal.

The opening lines indicate the blissful acceptance of defeat: "Cease to resist, giving my goodbye. Drive my car into the ocean. You'll think I'm dead, but I sail away, on a wave of mutilation." Francis later described the track as being inspired by tales of Japanese businessmen driven to their demise by the corporate system. Wave of Mutilation is a statement against the enslavement of the individual through the structure of modern society; one final, brilliant flash of empowerment, before disappearing forever into the gray of the concrete jungle.

Gil Norton's production provides a translucent aesthetic that matches the song well, with the overall recording sounding light, and airy. The vocals are bathed in a soft reverb, the drums sound almost programmed, while the bass pokes out in all the right sections. The band is at once very present, but somewhere else entirely.

The entire journey only lasts for barely over two minutes, yet the listener feels completely lost in the thrall of this fuzzy tsunami. Washed up on the shore, hysterical and buzzing on the inside, the overriding temptation is to jump back into the ocean and ride another wave of mutilation.

Just one more time....

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 Santiago, 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.

Wave of Mutilation (Lyrics)

Cease to resist, giving my goodbye 
Drive my car into the ocean 
You'll think I'm dead, but I sail away 
On a wave of mutilation 
A wave 

I've kissed mermaids, rode the El Niño 
Walked the sand with the crustaceans 
Could find my way to Mariana 
On a wave of mutilation, 
Wave of mutilation 
Wave of mutilation 

Wave of mutilation 

Contact Information:

The Pixies

Wave of Mutilation (Live)


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