Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published September 18th 2019
They're back and they're still The Pixies
I commented in my recent review of the new Iggy Pop album that I'd bought 3 CDs and only reviewed that one because the other two were not what I had hoped for. That night after it was posted (yes, that very night) I received a Twitter DM asking if those two rejected albums were the new Pixies album and one other. Well, yes to the one other (much to her disappointment), but no to The Pixies.
This morning, I discovered she'd bought it for me as a digital download.
So, I listened to it. Well
This is Beneath The Eyrie by The Pixies.
To be honest, I was not expecting much. Back in "the day", I was not a huge fan. I liked some of their songs, but they tended to blend into some of the other bands of the time. Then I heard their first post-reunion album and was not impressed, and I also knew when I received this that Kim Deal had left the group, and her work with The Breeders showed me just how much talent she has. (Lots. I mean, she is very talented; I think The Breeders are vastly under-rated.) So, I was ready for anything.
Anyway, let's see how this goes, shall we?
'In The Arms Of Mrs. Mark of Cain' A nice, harmonious way to start things. It's like the Go-Betweens with grunt (I am a huge fan of the Go-Betweens, for what it's worth). The lyrics are a little depressing, but that's okay. The song is a good way to open the album.
'Graveyard Hill' The lyrics of this decent rocker are great the singer is being seduced by a witch or enchantress. It's a little horror story put to music. And, as regular readers know, I have a penchant for horror, so this struck a cool chord with me. The music and the tale. A highlight.
'Catfish Kate' If I got this right, this is a song about a battle between a woman and a fish. The music is really good, even if the story itself is a little dodgy.
'This Is My Fate' This song has a bit of a bar-room feel about it, the sort of song you'd hear in an Outback pub somewhere. It's not quite growled, but not really sung sort of like Tom Waits without the cigarette-sounding voice. I think it's about drinking, but there is a darkness about it that I liked.
'Ready For Love' This is a song about hoping to find love, and the mix of the voices of Black Francis and Paz Lenchantin, gruff and smooth, works really well. Add to that some nice guitar work, and this is another album highlight.
'Silver Bullet' Not sure what to make of this song. It is not a bad song, and the music is quite good, with a sort of country feel, and I think it's about werewolves. Yeah. Not bad, but I couldn't get into it.
'Long Rider' A reasonable song, but the harmonising on this one just didn't quite work for me. Shame, because the rest of the song is not too shabby.
'Los Surfers Muertos' A slower song, and one that grew on me. Not really sure what it's about, but that doesn't matter because the music and the layered vocals are stunning. Yep, another highlight.
'St. Nazaire' This sounds more like the angry Pixies I remember from my own youth. Not a bad track.
'Bird Of Prey' "I'll set my broken bones with a twist and a crack " is the opening line to a track that sounds like it is sung by a young Nick Cave. Again, not a hundred percent sure what it's about, but it is still a good track. This is probably my favourite.
'Daniel Boone' A sad ballad, with some nice musical changes that differentiate it from the rest of the album. I like the slow build to the end. Again, not a bad track.
'Death Horizon' And we finish with a jaunty little ditty about impending death. Interesting closer.
So, there you have it, the new Pixies album. Musically, it is very good, and the singing was actually on point. Paz Lenchantin is a fine addition to the band; while she might not be Kim Deal, maybe she doesn't have to be in order to make this version of The Pixies work. The lyrics were an odd collection. There was a definite pre-occupation with death and magic and horror tropes, but this was tempered with some quite personal songs as well. A strange mix.
Look, it was better than I thought it would be. Much better. There are some very listenable tracks here and some actually quite good ones as well. Is it as good as they were in their prime? Well, probably not, but I, for one, enjoyed it. It is not the sound of the late-80s/early-90s they are remembered for; it is different. Yeah, I like this. Give it a go. You might be as pleasantly surprised as I was