It was one of their best and -- perhaps ironically, thanks to the title -- one of their most Pixies-ish songs, but however you looked at, the giddy crunch of "Outer Space," with its flat-out fun melody, lots of crazy guitar effects, and Mitchell's vocals riding above it all with an audible smile, began the 3Ds' full-album debut with a bang. From there, things kept rolling along, resulting in a fine record that unfortunately got a bit lost over in the States because of the collapse of the band's American label, First Warning, shortly after release. Thrashing and tuneful, while never pointlessly macho, songs like "Ugly Day" and "Swallow" radiate a great, fun vibe. Guest performer Alan Starrett adds a few extra instrumental touches during the course of the record, like a dulcimer and fiddle combination on the soft, Roughan-sung album closer, "Jewel," and viola and kalimba on the clattering "Teacher Is Dead." Mitchell's vocals are generally a little clearer throughout, at times eschewing his occasional hysterics for a more relaxed flow that's never lazy, as the fine "Sunken Treasure" shows. Songs like "Leave the Dogs to Play," with its hollow percussion and heavily treated guitars and vocals, show the band getting more comfortable with studio possibilities, while having a blast with them at the same time. Roughan gets her chance to shine vocally at points, as on the loping "Sunken Head." And while Mitchell can't help but sound like Black Francis -- that's just how he sings -- he does an admirable job on "Hairs."
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