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USA 2006
Directed by
Steven Cantor / Matthew Galkin
127 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Loud Quiet Loud

It wasn't meant to end like this. After almost five years and five extraordinary albums, Black Francis announced that the Pixies were splitting up. Nothing unusual there you would think but unfortunately Francis hadn't got around to telling the rest of his fellow bandmates. Their albums: Come on Pilgrim, Surfer Rosa, Doolittle, Bossanova and Trompe Le Monde paved the way for a new generation of alternative rock artists. Without the Pixies there would have been no Nirvana and no grunge. To quote Kurt Cobain at Loud Quiet Loud's opening. "I was trying to copy the Pixies when I wrote Smells Like Teen Spirit." Massively influential doesn't even cover it.

Why did it all go wrong? Steven Cantor and Matthew Galkin's excellent documentary tries to discover the answer while following the band on their massively successful reunion tour ten years after Francis' fateful brush with the press. Refreshingly honest; drummer David Lovering and lead guitarist Joey Santiago are delighted to be rejoining the band and at the potential of earning big money as both have fallen on financially hard times. Bassist Kim Deal and singer and guitarist Francis (aka Frank Black) always had a fractious relationship and it's fascinating watching the pair taking baby steps back into their musical relationship after a decade apart. Deal's only condition for touring with the band again was to take along her twin sister and fellow member of The Breeders, Kelly Deal, and it's delightful to see the siblings' reaction to the band as they sit together speechless before they jump onstage to entertain thousands of rabid fans.

The ferocity of the band on stage is completely at odds with their lives off it. Maybe this is the reason that drugs and alcoholism were always an issue with the band. All the members seem so gentle without the armoury of their instruments and this juxtaposition is what always made the band so interesting. Add to the fact that they happened to write some of the greatest rock songs ever and that their drummer left the band and became a magician and you have a winning documentary on your hands.

DVD Extras: Editor Trevor Ristow joins the directorial team of Steve Cantor and Mathew Gatkin for an informative running commentary. The rest of the extras are made up of unused footage from the documentary.

Available from: Madman




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