As far as longstanding bands go, few are perhaps more celebrated and anticipated than the Boston alternative-rock four piece; Pixies. Lashing out with true influential aura and flash, Head Carrier has everything a loyal Pixies fan would expect – sweeping guitar rumbles, crisp bass fumbles and the ever ranging vocal style of frontman Black Francis. Savour and sense the sixth studio record by this seminal rock band who still have a lot to say.
Structurally, the record delves deeper into the performing artistry qualities that make up most of the band’s back catalogue. This winding in and out of similar yet different stylistic elements make for a cinematic, and sun-kissed atmospheric climate – a well-received treat even so many years on from their earlier and distinctive sound. Track’s like Classic Masher invigorate the ears with Black’s melody driven vocal consoles, whereas the next track revives his screechier, screaming pulsations in Baal’s Back. Fast paced energetic memories steer throughout all of its two minutes – particularly letting the lead and rhythm guitar substances take hold with a mean and whole forcefulness. Such is the band’s formula to wield an unmistakable yet different sound throughout the tracklist of a record. It’s these unexpected surprises that stop and start within each next track that aid a full pleasant experience both songfully and poetically. Oona is a perfect representation of this, mortaring with familiar Pixies blood though with enough new stylistic happenings that shine a light on the more charismatic and tighter instrument execution. The new backup vocal/lead appearances by fresh full-time member Paz Lenchantin are perhaps the most rewarding element when listening to Head Carrier. All I Think About Now is a cherry blossom of a mid-paced alternative rush made increasingly palpable by Lenchantin’s confident playing style, robust songwriting qualities and vibrant resonance. The chemistry between the band is a collective energy that fails to dissipate in any sense with songs like Plaster Of Paris providing concrete sound evidence before the vibe soon decelerates into the blindingly tasteful last track; All The Saints. Natural efforts and experimental signatures tie together blissfully, exercising the dusty use of guitar power and a thick bass line specialism – leaving a sweet taste in our mouths and ears.
For numerous reasons, the band have still got it. The songwriting in Head Carrier alone speaks volumes about the existential power that is held close to each member, whether this spills into the lyricism in the form of honourable and personal self-reflections, or the thunderous switching style of short, fast and loud instrumental conveyances. The sound is fresh, innovative and colourfully modernistic, advancing the band’s already large influential magnetism.