Words About Music
2013 really is the year, huh? Not only is literally every band reuniting, but some of the more dormant reunited acts are finally coming together for some new music, including 80s-90s alternative rock act Pixies. Pixies broke ground back in the 1988 with their debut album “Surfer Rosa,” which included modern classics like “Where Is My Mind?” and “Gigantic.” They were noted for their loud-quiet-loud sound, which Nirvana later used in their #1 hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and later called “a direct ripoff of the Pixies.” They continued their winning streak with 1989’s excellent “Doolittle,” which many consider both Pixies’ magnum opus and one of the best albums of the 80s, as well as 1990’s “Bossanova” and 1991’s “Trompe Le Monde,” which ended up being their final album before they broke up. They reunited in 2004 for some live shows, and have recently been a mostly live act. Apart from dropping a few tracks here and there, no one dreamed that Pixies would ever release any physical music, let alone an EP (or maybe even an album).
Coming off the release of a new track “Bagboy” (which is not on the EP), and the announcement that longtime bassist and founding member Kim Deal had left the band, Pixies decided the best course of action would be to finally put out some new music. And it kinda paid off. Yesterday they dropped “EP1” with zero warning, and the reactions are more enthusiastic to the idea of Pixies coming together for new music than they are to the music itself.
“EP1” kicks off with the track “Andro Queen,” which sounds more like a Frank Black solo song than it does a Pixies song. It’s soft and the guitars are hypnotic and wavy, which is very uncharacteristic of Pixies’ music. Also, Frank Black’s (or Black Francis) voice sounds… autotuned. One shudders at the thought, I know, but maybe this is some sort of new experiment. The second track “Another Toe In The Ocean” is not much different, in terms of “This doesn’t really feel like a Pixies song.” The final two songs, however, are signs of good things to come.
Song 3, “Indie Cindy,” is everything I miss about Pixies. It’s in a weird time signature, has Black Francis sing/talking some weird nonsense, and it’s packed full of energy. It would fit right in on the first half of “Doolittle.” The final song “What Goes Boom” is another high-energy jam from the weirdo kings (and queen) of alt rock. When Black Francis’ voice isn’t autotuned, it actually sounds really good. Although, I do miss his screams.
I’m not really sure how to feel about “EP1.” On the one hand, it’s got some of the worst songs I’ve ever heard from one of my favorite bands. On the other hand, it’s been over 20 years since Pixies have released an album, and half the songs on this EP are actually pretty good. So I’m not really sure what to think. I guess it’s only fair to call it hit-and-miss, even though the highs are high. Listen for yourself and let me know what you think.
SCORE – 5.0