Pixies: change isn’t always a good thing

Pixies_indie_cindyALONG with R.E.M., Sonic Youth and The Smiths, Pixies are arguably one of the most important Alternative Rock bands to come out of the 1980s. Until this year they had only produced four albums; four wonderful, legendary, perfect albums. Last year, bassist Kim Deal announced she was leaving the band after they reformed in 2004, while the remaining members decided to continue making new music. Releasing EPs 1, 2 and 3 over several months, the band have now released Indie Cindy, the band’s first album since 1991’s Trompe Le Monde, comprising of material from the 3 EPs. Black Francis recently stated that the idea was leave a gap, indicating the departure of Deal, and boy, did they.

Like three of the four Pixies albums, Indie Cindy was produced Gil Norton, however unlike those three other albums, this has a different feel to it. Whereas the likes of Doolittle and Bossanova felt quite stripped back, and raw, Indie Cindy feels substantially more produced. Francis wasn’t lying when he said there was a hole left for Deal; the bass lines are notably pushed back, not leading the songs like in so many of Pixies’ past releases. A lot of the songs feel like they echo present day rock, such as ‘What Goes Boom’, which gives a very Foo Fighters-like vibe. If I could link it to any Pixies release, it most resembles Trompe le Monde, ‘Blue Eyed Hexe’, for example, echoes ‘Subbacultcha’.

Disjointed

The songs themselves are not bad. In comparison to a lot of bands, Pixies still successfully hold their own, even if some songs may be better than others. ‘Bagboy’, ‘Blue Eyed Hexe’ and the title track are 3 of the best tracks on the album, each one containing a glimpse of past Pixies, while introducing a new element. Unfortunately the album also contains such duds as ‘Andro Queen’, ‘What Goes Boom’ and ‘Greens and Blues’, the third of which tries to replicate the success of classic Pixies track ‘Gigantic’. The sad factor of Indie Cindy though is the running order. Unlike previous Pixies releases, which felt like complete sets, this album feels disjointed. It doesn’t help the tracks are from 3 separate EPs, for example, ‘Silver Snail’ going into ‘Blue Eyed Hexe’ doesn’t feel right. It’s like two separate bands.

So many had feared Indie Cindy would fall flat on its face, but thankfully it doesn’t. Of course it doesn’t live up to the legacy of their previous work, but with a discography like Pixies’, it’d be exceptionally hard to. The album has its moments of glory, and it would be unfair to claim that it deserves some of the scathing reviews it’s had, but it’s hard not to listen to the record and not be disappointed. Of course change needs to happen, but as a big Pixies fan I can’t help but think it wasn’t for the best.