The likes of Nirvana and Radiohead have bowed at their altar, so there is really no overstating the influence of Pixies.
Pixies: Indie Cindy
Star rating: * * *
These true originals didn’t outstay their welcome first time around – seven years, five albums and then they were gone – but the demand by subsequent generations of music fans to see them live means their reunion, at ten years and counting, could yet run and run.
The lack of new material was always a puzzle though. Then, last summer, two developments came in quick succession: the revelation that Kim Deal had packed her bags and walked out six days into fresh recording sessions and the arrival of new song Bagboy which, with frontman Black Francis testifying like a disturbed roadside preacher and Deal’s beatific counterpoint backing vocal, would otherwise have signalled that all was well in the realm of Pixies.
Deal is a huge loss to the band. There are some who now regard Pixies as a three-legged dog, though there is continuity with the return of Gil Norton as producer and Vaughn Oliver as sleeve designer.
Most, if not all of the tracks on Indie Cindy will already be familiar to fans, having been released across three EPs over the past eight months. It is presumably hoped that they will be persuaded to invest again, this time in a choice of collectable formats, including a limited edition vinyl release produced for Record Store Day.
Packaged together as an album, one can appreciate the range and dynamics of the material but also an overall lack of attack. Opener What Goes Boom is typically Pixies with its mix of momentum and menace, lyrics beamed in from another planet, a fleeting moment of sweetness and a brief but torrid guitar solo, but little else can match its urgency.
Another Toe in the Ocean and Greens and Blues sound like the work of a band trying to follow Pixies’ lead rather than the trailblazers themselves. The title track is better, oscillating between half-spoken eccentricities and a dreamy, floating melody. Silver Snail proceeds at a steady, steely pace; the blithe, chiming Ring The Bell, another of the newest cuts from EP3, adds a different texture to the collection and the heavy, swaggering rock of Blue Eyed Hexe, described as “a witch-woman kind of song,”has a playful rather than unsettling edge.
Any of these could comfortably take their place in a Pixies set, but surely comfort was never the point?