Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: Pixies "Indie Cindy"

Yesterday, the Pixies released their first album in 23 years and it is in my opinion a solid record that adds to the bands legacy. This was no easy task when you consider the band is held on pretty high pedestals being one of the biggest forerunners of the alternative scene of the late 80’s to early 90’s. The band also had to overcome another big deal, specifically, the lack of bassist Kim Deal. Add that to the notoriously jaded nature of the modern hipster and you have a recipe for an album that is going to face some serious critical cannonballs.

When the band reunited four years ago Deal was a part of the lineup but shortly thereafter she opted out of recording sessions in favor of a reunion tour with the Breeders. Must have felt like history repeating itself to the bands other original members: Black Francis, David Lovering and Joey Santiago. The addition of Kim Shattuck, later replaced by Paz Lenchantin for the world tour, completed the quadrant for this new version. The album combines all the songs from the band's 2013-14 extended play releases —  which were recorded and produced in 2012 by Gil Norton, who produced previous Pixies albums Doolittle, Bossanova and Trompe le Monde.

Indie Cindy starts off with the energetic “What Goes Boom,” which is a very fun and pixies-sounding tune that I wish was centered around a different word than “boom” but it works.  This is followed with slick space ballad “Green and Blues” and the eponymous “Indie Cindy.” This track is probably the star of the album, though I should say it is no single, because it is really more a plea for an open mind from their fans that is inundated in the spacey and gorgeous then dissonant and splintered patterns that so much of the bands most beloved tracks are built upon.

Some of the mid-album tracks are nothing to stick in the library of congress - “Bagboy,” “Another Toe in the Ocean” and “Silver Snail” all feel a little blasé but do stand up to repeated listening - and there is nothing here that does not suit the album.  From my perspective, “Magdalena” and “Andro Queen” both compliment the aforementioned motif of an old flame (or aging rock band) trying to rekindle something slightly magical and intangible without ruining what the memory. The album also contains a real fire track in the heavily-chorused “Snakes” which would fit right in on a compilation of the bands most blissful tunes. Another one of my favorites is “Blue Eyed Hexe” which espouses some spectacular riffs and gives the sense that, despite the pressures, the Pixies really are enjoying being the Pixies again.  

In close, Indie Cindy is all about asking the listener to try to love the Pixies both for what they are in the greater context of what they once were and never will be again – the weird, off beat alternative outfit that moved the genre forward. They can’t be a new band, even though purists will note that without Kim Deal they aren’t truly the old one, but they can still be the Pixies with new music and that’s still a pretty good deal.  If you give them a chance.

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