In 2004 the Pixies reunited for a series of concerts which ultimately turned into one continuous world tour since then. It was an event not many fans of the iconic alternative rockers thought would ever happen, I mean, would YOU if you were fired from a band via fax? In that time they have honored one of their best efforts, Doolittle with a lengthy anniversary tour, lost original bassist Kim Deal to fatigue and Breeders shows, and released a series of EPs that quite frankly were not the most revered. So it’s surprising that the band’s first studio album in 23 years, Indie Cindy, mostly comprises those three efforts, a move that might stifle some but under the right sequencing might be worth the time.
The trouble is, and this is as frank as I can see myself getting with a band I admire, it feels like the band went the wrong way around. When you hear previously released tracks like “Bagboy” and “Magdalena 318” you are reminded quickly why this seemed like a bad idea. Most bands, if they do decide to release new material, don’t wait this long to produce something — especially given the fact they’ve been “back” for a decade. The sense of excitement for a new Pixies record falls greatly for a release like this, evidenced by the reception that these tracks have received over the past seven months in prior releases.
“Greens and Blues” is the closest thing to a nostalgia trip in their current arsenal with Joey Santiago laying on a sonic, eerily satisfying guitar riff over Black Francis’ rather distinct vocal skills. In some of the rougher moments you hear the Pixies of old and none of the past tense of talking about the band comes in light of Deal’s absence, the tracks are just simply poorly handled. They have the potential even now after they have already been released to be something great if handled better but they just wander so disjointed through each other.
That being said Deal’s absence can be felt when you look at the band as whole since she was very much the part of that band that separated the Pixies from all other bands at the time. Much like the reunion record from Ben Folds Five this feels like at times a solo record for the band’s principal songwriter with Santiago and drummer David Lovering in tow. Opener “What Goes Boom’ clunks and fizzes with no real sense of urgency and interest while “Another Toe in the Ocean” would feel right at home under the guise of a Frank Black record.
Still there are moments that you can’t avoid as being something of hope and pure enjoyment. “Blue Eyed Hexe” is the band’s best shot at Texarkana Southern Rock in a Boston 1986 sense with Francis’ signature anxiety ridden voice and a string snapping chugging guitar lick. The title track gives the best hope to something that resembles the Pixies in their prime as Francis’ speak sings the lines “You put the cock in cocktail, man/ Well I put the tail in WAIT!”
These songs won’t go away quietly and squashing ones’ own personal expectations Indie Cindy has the right amount of tracks to fit perfectly into the band’s touring catalog. “Greens and Blues” is of “Gigantic”-like structures and the aforementioned title track could easily have been an outtake circa Trompe le Monde. Point is, maybe the tracks need a little more time and maybe Indie Cindy is actually something criminally underrated but for now it’s a mixed bag coming off early reactions that some will embrace and others will easily forget as they reach for their copy of Surfer Rosa once more.