Tracklisting: What Goes Boom / Greens and Blues / Indie Cindy / Bagboy / Magdalena 318 / Silver Snail / Blue Eyes Hexe / Ring The Bell / Another Toe In The Ocean / Andro Queen / Snakes / Jaime Bravo
Never look back. Where once eyeballs were deliciously sliced now former demonic frontman Black Francis is merely a “fucking beggar” whose threats have diminished to childish slurs. “You put the cock in cocktail” he barks on the title track of Pixies long delayed fifth long player Indie Cindy and you start to wonder whether the whole ‘getting-the-band-back-together’ shenanigans were really worth it.
There was always a whiff of being in it for the money when Pixies reformed just over 10 years ago. Notoriously dumping the rest of his band via fax in 1993, there seemed no love lost between Francis and his former comrades, with reconciliation about as likely as a pig sprouting wings. New music from one of the US underground’s most seminal bands seemed an even rarer proposition.
Thankfully the reunion gigs proved triumphant and demand was such that Pixies (minus founding bass player Kim Deal) returned to the studio in 2013 to record three EPs, the twelve tracks of which compriseIndie Cindy.
Let’s be brutally honest, this isn’t a classic Pixies album. In the late 80s/early 90s Pixies were the weird kids in the corner elevated to “cool” status by virtue of having their otherworldliness just palatable to the mainstream. Now Francis is apologetic of his position from the off as he humbly proclaims, “If I ever seem a little strange, would you excuse me please?” on second track “Greens and Blues.” This coming from a man who previously proclaimed “I think you’re pretty, you make me hard”, without a sense of bashfulness. Since Kurt Cobain admitted to ripping off Pixies on uber hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit” a string of alternative minstrels have taken the quiet/loud dynamic and obscure references that littered their first four albums and made the originators all but obsolete. Today Pixies just ain’t the curio they once were and Indie Cindy glaringly reflects that.
Francis and co. have crafted an album that feels more like a brand new project than a continuation of the old. Sure some of the dynamics of the past are there. but Indie Cindy is altogether safer than Pixies’ heyday, more akin to early MTV friendly Black Francis albums dominated by big hooks and polish than surrealism and awkwardness.
However, forget for a minute that you’re listening to a Pixies album and you’ll find pleasures in abundance. Dive into the opening bombast of “What Goes Boom” (think Future Of The Left at their most direct), wallow in the dirty chug of “Magdalena’”or rejoice in Francis’ piercing screams towards the end of “Blue Eyed Hexe” (a genuine pleasure to hear again on record) and a pretty decent alternative rock album begins to emerge. The next Nirvana won’t be looking to ape anything here but Indie Cindy is brimming with huge tunes ready to tear it up at your local indie disco.
“Andro Queen” with it’s militaristic drumming and spaced out vibe, the relentless “Snakes”, and the crowd pleasing anthem “Bagboy” hint at possible new directions for Pixies whilst “Greens and Blues” and “Another Toe In The Ocean” are glorious pop moments you’ll find yourself skipping back to on summer’s days.
Meanwhile, of the three EPs that make up Indie Cindy the third delivers the weakest tracks. “Silver Snail” is sluggish (sorry) and drab, “Ring The Bell” fails to find a memorable chorus and “Jamie Bravo” rounds things off in sub-Weezer territory. File under: Must Try Harder.
So, Pixies return to recorded music is a victory of sorts. They may not be as vital, vicious, and vibrant as they once were, but it’d be a hell of shame if this was the last we heard of ‘em.
Rating 3 out of 5
THIS REVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON BEARDED GENTLEMEN MUSIC.
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