Album Review: Pixies – Indie Cindy

By on Wednesday, 30th April 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

Lovers of the late pioneers of American alternative rock Pixies may listen to ‘Indie Cindy’ with an erring of disappointment, as it does tend to lean on the opposite side of what you would expect from them. However, newcomers to the Boston four-piece may be tempted to visit the back-catalogue, after the listening to the bittersweet collection of lighter offerings, mixed in with some altogether more rocking tunes.

The album comes out of the blocks strongly in the shape of guzzling rockabilly number ‘What Goes Boom’, a song powered by the vocals of Hank Schrader lookalike Black Francis in tandem with the chugging guitars of Joey Santiago. It’s so metal, it feels like we’ve been transported into another 21st century legend reunion (think Sabbath). The album then goes in an altogether different direction to what you’d expect from Pixies, even if it is their first studio release since 1991’s ‘Trompe Le Monde’. We’re treated instead to one of the highlights of the record, ‘Greens and Blues’. Francis tells us of his outcast status beautifully, “I said I’m human, but you know I lie / I’m only visiting this shore”, over a stuttering acoustic rhythm. The opening two tracks are a spectacle of the eclectic mix, which is served up on ‘Indie Cindy’.

The title track shades between the two facets of the record smoothly, weaving in soaring vocals alongside some shreddingly epic solos. It’s a snarling window back to what most people expected from Pixies: it’s grungy and so grimy, you feel like having a long warm shower afterwards to make you feel clean again. Seeing as the band has been away for so long, not producing new music, the mid-album point reminded me of recent Queens of the Stone Age work. But it’d be nigh on sacrilege to say QOTSA’s recent work has directly influenced this new work from one of the godfathers of grunge; in fact, mid-album tracks like ‘Magdalena’ and ‘Silver Snail’ are a return to the relative pomp and glory of Pixies, the sound that made them one of the key influences for bands like Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins. And now they’ve returned to inspire a new generation of nu-grungists and rockers.

The fact this album – the band’s return – has come in the form of three separate EPs has been a cause for debate, with some suggesting that the band are cashing in for one final reunion pay cheque. But when listening to the record, it’s quite obvious that ‘Indie Cindy’ was put together as a whole: the entire album plays through as a consistent work, not a collection of three separate entities. Track nine, ‘Another Toe in the Ocean’ (video at the bottom of this post), is the album’s best by a long way. Snarling guitars a-plenty and the kind of vocals which will have any nostalgic Pixies fan gasping for air in excitement.

It’s been slammed in some corners, as a final cash-in for an ageing group, but ‘Indie Cindy’ is far from it in my opinion. It’s a throwback to the glory days, of a band who are set to enthuse anyone who sees them this summer into buying this record, alongside ‘Bossanova’ and ‘Doolittle’.

8/10

‘Indie Cindy’, the Pixies’ first album in years, is out now.

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