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The Pixies formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1986. The group disbanded in 1993 under acrimonious circumstances but reunited in 2004. Black Francis, Joey Santiago, Kim Deal, and David Lovering have been the band’s continual members. While the Pixies found only modest success in their home country, they were significantly more successful in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe, although never achieving mainstream success with their studio albums.
The band’s style of alternative rock music is heavily influenced by punk and surf rock, and while highly melodic, is capable of being tremendously abrasive at the same time. Francis is the Pixies’ primary songwriter and singer and has a distinctly desperate, yowling delivery. He has typically written cryptic songs about offbeat subjects, such as UFOs and surrealism. References to mental instability, violent Biblical imagery, physical injury, and incest feature in many of the band’s songs.
The Pixies are widely considered one of the most influential bands who did not achieve mainstream success in their prime. They are seen as an immediate forebear of the alternative rock boom of the 1990s, though they disbanded before reaping any of the benefits this might have brought them. Avowed fan Kurt Cobain’s acknowledgment of the debt Nirvana owed to the Pixies, along with similar tributes by other alternative bands, ensured that the Pixies’ legacy and influence grew substantially in the years following their demise.
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