Bam Thwok – Pixies

I don’t talk about Pixies enough on here. Sure they’ve been on the list more than once. As a band who loom large in my legend they’re right up there. I once paid a dodgy tout four times the cover price of a ticket to get in to a Pixies show because I’d left my own ticket at home (I am a very forgetful man).

I love all Pixies records relatively equally. I think you’d be hard pushed to top Bossanova or Come On Pilgrim and yet, I’m hugely delighted with Head Carrier and Indie Cindy.

I look at it like this. There were 200 years (Rock Years that is) after Trompe Le Monde and the odd compilation records where Pixies got more famous than they’d ever been. Yet there was nothing new to listen to. Now post 2012 we live in a world where new Pixies records come out… Kinda regularly. Anyone who wants to complain about that doesn’t deserve a new Pixies record.

Annyyy Hoot! Rather than pick an album track, I’m going to go for this curiosity because I’ve got some things to say about it.

Bam Thwok was the first new music from the band after they reformed. It was a standalone single track recording for the soundtrack to a big budget animated film. However, the song never made it onto the soundtrack. It was*ahem* rejected? *ahem by the studio.

You just got Pixies back together. And you threw their first new song away. Because… Hollywood?!?!? I just can’t even. I’ve tried to even. I cannot. Let’s not name names.

So Shrek’s loss was iTunes gain. Released only as a digital download with uncharacteristically naff artwork (no Vaughn Oliver?) it also serves as the last recording by the original line up. We know Kim Deal is on there not just because of her super stylish bass groove but because she takes the lead vocal. So this track is the only reformation Pixies song. With the original line up. It’s years ahead of the comeback album (like a decade) and it’s just bobbing about out there. With a bad sleeve. Nyyyyaaah!

so there’s a boom of a power chord. Santiago’s guitar makes some of those ‘oh so missed’ noises and we’re off, straight into it

“I can hear the buzzing modulations of the universe but you’re the first to make me feel it”

Squee Wheee goes Joey, Kim’s voice sounds as iconic as it did on Gigantic and less laconic as it had on Into The White. She’s clearly enjoying being back with her boys at this point.

As choruses go this one couldn’t be more Pixies.

“Bam Thwock, Love! Bang! Crash! Oh Wocka Wocka”

It’s a honey of nonsense almost onomatopoeia word matching. They stayed weird, they stayed hummable and they stayed fun.

“Bosses in offices on automatic drip, we got the keys to the city but we got a lot of shaking in our hips”

The real trick with Pixies songs is you have very little idea what they’re actually talking about but you totally relate. Then comes the second refrain. Catchier than the chorus proper but a succinct assessment of the song, the reformed band and the waiting alternative rock world queuing to see those early comeback shows.

“Watch it! Here’s fifty thousand watts of goodwill”

it chugs and squeals along until close to the one and a half minute mark when suddenly, everything goes a bit sub-aquatic. We’re taken over by the swirling fairground music of pipe organs and mechanical programming. It seems to come via a thick muddy compressed sound like it’s all happening under a lake.

Things swirl around in a heady mess for a few delicious moments. Then suddenly were pulled back into focus for another run at the chorus and…

“Bam Thwock! Love! Bangkok! Oh wocka wocka!”

…And to think Hollywood went with Smashmouth.

6 thoughts on “Bam Thwok – Pixies

  1. Forgive me, man, but I’d never heard this track before now!! I can’t even say I was aware of it… shocker!

    I’ll also be honest and say right here that they last two Pixies albums haven’t really shook me *gets coat*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re not alone I this perspective. I just live that for years I’d hear bands and think ‘I like this, it sounds like Pixies’ and now it actually IS Pixies and I love it. It’s not as amazing as first time hearing Debaser but it’s still better than most other things

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nothing is as amazing as that first time hearing Debaser. What a tune.

        Jane’s Addiction are probably my band like that… some say ‘mnah’, but I say “it’s Jane’s Addiction!”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah. They qualify for sure. I saw them last year at a festival on a second stage and they had the most amazing one hour set list. Made everyone else look like they’re coming up a little short

        Liked by 1 person

      3. They’re incredible live. Electric. I’ve seen them once… many years ago at a festival, too… just before Strays and I was excited… I was telling my mate that we had to see them, though he said they were nowt special. and no other act came close. Phenomenal. My mate fell in love with them.

        Liked by 1 person

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