At first glance, the first full-length release in 23 years from alt-rock legends Pixies is as welcome as it is peculiar.
It’s welcome because, well,it’s the damn Pixies. It’s peculiar because all of this material was previously released in EP form, and iconic founding bassist Kim Deal is no longer around – and it’s the second of these points that influences the outcome most.
‘What Goes Boom’ is a heavy start that announces the band’s return in no uncertain terms, while ‘Magdalena 318’ and ‘Silver Snail’ allow Black Francis to show the light and dark sides of his songwriting. Unfortunately, for each decent track there are three or four stinkers, with the ridiculous ‘Snakes’ and flaccid ‘Andro Queen’ being the worst offenders. The lack of those beautifully simple Deal basslines like on ‘Gigantic’ or ‘Debaser’ is a devastating loss, although it could be argued it’s unfair to compare this release to music made in the early ’90s, and the album is being released to support Record Store Day after all.
Almost everyone will want Indie Cindy to be a killer, but some bands like The Clash and The Replacements were never the same after dropping original members, and unfortunately the same rule applies here. Pixies are back with a whimper, not a bang.