These classic studio albums were re-mastered from the original tapes and are now available at a low midline price.
Before the Breeders and Frank Black, there was this Boston quartet, playing hardcore's rush and terseness against the acoustic grit and the minor-key flourish of Latin pop. Their first full-length album is their starkest, harsh and trebly, with the drums right in your face, and songs edited to eliminate any note that's not absolutely necessary. Singer Black Francis yelping away about destroyed bodies and the river Euphrates, alternately acting cryptic and crazed. Kim Deal, then calling herself "Mrs. John Murphy," contributes the highlight, "Gigantic," a creepy anthem about childhood voyeurism. The playing is snarly and tricky but unfailingly tuneful, and the hooks come out of nowhere, hiding behind the noise, and bite down hard. --Douglas Wolk