After 23 long years Pixies have finally delivered fans a new album in Indie Cindy. Gil Norton who you may remember from Doolittle, Bossanova and their last studio album Trompe le Monde back in 1991 produced the 12-track record, which was recorded back in October 2012. Indie Cindy features the bands first new song in over a decade, Bagboy released on its own in mid-2013 plus tracks from the band’s EP-1, EP-2 and EP-3.
There are a few changes to the set-up of these old-time rockers. Most obviously they’re presented as a trio for this album and upcoming gigs – long-time member, former bassist and back-up vocalist Kim Deal departed in 2013 just prior to the release of Bagboy. You could only assume tensions between Deal and lead-vocalist Black Francis, which evidently led to the bands split in 1993, could be the cause.
For the compilation-style that it is, the flow of Indie Cindy works with each song dynamic in its own right. Perhaps the writing experience of Black Francis lends itself to a certain familiarity or maybe it is that guitar, that epic guitar. It would be a crime not to start with Bagboy. What a song – so grunge, so great. It starts with an awesome electric drum kick and the spoken lyrics of Francis while the scratchy guitar compliments the mood. The backing lyrics are an eerie reminder of Deal but it does more good then harm as you cast your mind back through the Pixies catalogue. This song is exemplary in the breadth of talent and experience amongst the band.
Title track Indie Cindy is close to an iconic Pixies track. Following the lyrics it’s a sketchy, disturbed tale told in the familiar non-sequitur style of Francis. Some captivating dissonant guitar smoothly wraps together a harmonic, almost acoustic chorus – on paper this track is a clash of sound that shouldn’t quite work, to our delight it does.
It sucks to point out the pitfalls of anything produced by a band like the Pixies but it needs to be done – some tracks are really boring, they’re repetitive, unimaginative or just too plain for these guys. This may be suicide but as an example the excitement of the guitar shred in What Goes Boom leads to nowhere, we’re stuck in a loop here! Another Toe In The Ocean is nothing to write home about – yes, Francis displays his vocal range if you have listened to the albums entirety and heard what is on display across the other tracks, but what else is there?
Lucky Magdalena has won you over before you made it too far – nice and dark it breaks into your head, the accompanying guitar really sets the tone for any lyrics pit against this backdrop. It isn’t too over zealous but there’s a little something there, it’s the micro-movements in your body as you listen, the almost pleading tone from Francis that you fall victim to for the 3 minutes 25 seconds.
It is great to hear from the Pixies again, albeit in compilation masquerading as an album. Perhaps a bit bias but the album is great to have on the playlist. Its quite eclectic, ranging from the soft Andro Queen to the heavy Blue Eyed Hexe – which has Francis screaming and guitarist Joey Santiago shredding. It is obvious this album wasn’t created to tell a story but takes the position as a reformation record. No one is going to complain if these guys start to pump out a few new tracks, especially if its to the delight of screaming fans at any one of their upcoming live appearances. Now stop reading this and go take a listen then let me know what part of the Pixies back catalogue you end up on.