What does it sound like?:
Pixies have a brand new album out. It’s a belter.
My theory is Black was secretly besotted with Kim, hence the self flagellation with the bible and all the dreams about aliens. The sexual tension was the magic ingredient that catalysed the magnificent Doolittle and Surfer Rosa. In Kim’s absence, Indie Cindy sounds like Weezer (sorry, Weezer, but you ain’t no Pixies).
Now, they have Paz Lenchantin in the Kim role. Imagine the job pitch. “Yes, we love the barefoot bass playing, but there are a couple of things you have to understand. Black fancies the pants off you but, on no account encourage him. You have to fall in love with Joey and he’ll just ignore you. You want to be a pop star, really, and you need to write lots of pop songs. The rest of the band will take no notice of them, except the odd one or two, no matter how good they are. And, never, repeat never, ask what’s going on inside the drummer’s head.”
Paz is great. She does sing lead on one song, a thank you note to Kim, spookily recalling Where Is My Mind, but it’s her backing vocals that make the real difference. Black needs a lady vocalist behind him, to smooth his prickliness (Oona is a perfect example). The sexual chemistry isn’t quite as combustible as with Kim, but Black is impressively lusty for someone over fifty (I’m sure we can all feel his pain). Years of screaming have taken their toll on his vocal chords. He screams more sparingly and with less screech. Then again, I suppose it is obligatory to scream on a hymn to the devil, such as Baal’s Back. The guitars are superb, throbbing with power, the riffs unrelenting and the solos sharp and angular just like in the eighties. The intensity might be turned down a notch and there may be a sprinkling of levity, but all twelve songs are unmistakably Pixies with a characteristic edginess touched by the bizarre. Aliens are only mentioned once.
Head Carrier recalls the stratospheric heights of their heyday without quite equalling them. Nevertheless, it could be their third best album. I challenge you to find a better guitar rock album released this year.
What does it all *mean*?
Guitar rock is still alive and kicking.
Goes well with…
Might suit people who like…
Early Pixies albums.