pixies_LEAD

Indie Cindy, the Pixies’ first record since 1991 was recorded in 2012, and released as a series of teaser EPs throughout 2013 and 2014. As such, while their latest is officially being released this Tuesday, it’s all been heard at this point – and not particularly well-received. In short, some speculate that they’ve sold out or that this is simply what happens when seminal bands reunite after extended hiatuses. Others that Kim Deal’s departure dealt a fatal blow. Likely all three are true to some extent, but there’s still some good stuff here – we separate the wheat from the chaff below.

What Goes Boom

Throwing a bunch of weed references at the wall isn’t going to convince listeners that the Pixies have returned with their full force of edginess. Instead, “Boom” feels like an okay general rock track sung by in Metalocalypse’s Toki Wartooth joke-voice: [LISTEN]

"What Goes Boom"

Greens and Blues

As if to preemptively apologize for this record’s shortcomings, Francis promises to “leave [us] alone” and “slip into the greens and blues” – which, judging by the lyrics of “What Goes Boom,” means to ride off into a sunset of weed and melancholy. It’s still better than the radio, though: [LISTEN]

"Greens and Blues"

Indie Cindy

The title track’s promising time changes mix with Black’s confrontational spoken-word vocals until a clunker of a line signals the switch to a pop song on “washed-up” love. Neither the jarring verses or catchy choruses match their previous work in either field, but the verses come closer: [LISTEN]

"Indie Cindy"

Bagboy

Black is tired of your shit. Or someone else’s shit, as may be the case. Whoever may be the addressee, their “proselytizing” is being heard by no one, although this still somehow upsets Black. Again, the sliding, distorted guitar solos give an air of rawness that isn’t matched elsewhere [LISTEN]

"Bagboy"

Magdalena

This semi-slinky groove is gunning for dark, but comes up wanting thanks largely to some Wham!-like lyricism. It’s a shame, considering the “one year turned into five” line really set the stage for an effective, downward-spiral situation [LISTEN]

"Magdalena"

Silver Snail

This ominous bassline makes the track immediately dark in a mysterious, balladic way. There’s no particular narrative, which at first gives the impression that he’s fucking with us in a “Walrus” sort of way – but the obvious bleak nature conveys its message whether it confuses or no: [LISTEN]

"Silver Snail"

Blue Eyed Hexe

This cowbell-smackin’ cock-rocker is never going to replace “Gigantic,” even if that was its original goal. I wonder what Kim Deal – who changed her name for three years as an ironic feminist joke – would think of this ode to lusty ladies with Pentagram imagery?: [LISTEN]

"Blue Eyed Hexe"

Ring the Bell

Soaring guitars, mimicking ringing “bells,” indicate Francis’ need to “see the garlands once more” and get back in the game. It’s near impossible to regain the past glory of being perhaps the most influential guitar band of your time, but this mission statement says they’ll definitely try: [LISTEN]

"Ring the Bell"

Another Toe in the Ocean

Francis’ hook may sound like a warning on the perils of alcohol, but on the contrary, he tells us how his plans include “making love in the cool, black sand.” Life can be a Corona commercial if you just make it happen. It’s a happy little midtempo jam, but not much to write home about: [LISTEN]

"Another Toe in the Ocean"

Andro Queen

With a march beat, guitar tremolo, and a possible Flaming Lips influence, this interstellar love story is possibly the best track on this album. The bridge features lyrics in Esperanto – the easiest language to learn quickly – to communicate with his alien love effectively: [LISTEN].

"Andro Queen"

Snakes

Filling one’s own shoes isn’t easy if your last album came out in 1991 and most of your fans just want to hear the hits. However, while this slightly-mathy ditty may not garner a new teen horde through a blockbuster soundtrack, this catchy “plague” retribution theme satisfies: [LISTEN]

"Snakes"

Jaime Bravo

The main “Where Is My Mind” guitar riff opens this track – only transposed up an octave and at double speed. It’s kind of an all-in bet to remind us just how catchy the Pixies can be, amid power-of-positivity lyrics on the brand new day ahead, underscored by the occasional “woo woo:” [LISTEN]

"Jaime Bravo"

Women of War

This record store day exclusive features some pop-rock upstrokes on fairly scattershot chords, and some mild objectification – veering into misogynistic generalizations later on. It’s ironic (or whatever really is the correct word), since it’s supposedly an anti-“machismo” song: [LISTEN]

"Women of War"