In a recording hiatus that is almost as old as I am (23 years for those playing at home) and just in time for their string of Vivid Sydney shows at the Sydney Opera House, the Pixies are back with Indie Cindy, the band’s first full-release since Trompe Le Monde back in 1991.
23 years is a long time when you think about it, so much has changed since the early nineties. We’ve seen the rise of the internet, the fall of bands of whom coined Pixies as their inspiration (Nirvana), hell – music as a medium has been completely flipped on its head, but there is one thing that hasn’t changed that much, and that is…..the Pixies themselves.
Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, it’s just that after 23 years, and with all the leaps and bounds I know I’ve personally made, I was expecting something…uh…else I guess.
The album starts with ‘What Goes Boom’, a grizzly guitar heavy, stomping way to introduce us to the rest of Indie Cindy. Laced with softer vocals than you may usually expect from Black Francis, it actually works really well and is an incredibly surly opening track, if not, my favourite track overall.
‘Greens & Blues’ and ‘Indie Cindy’ take heed of those softer reigns featured in ‘What Goes Boom,’ and lead us into more subdued territory, which, despite being a change of pace, doesn’t really do any favours for the quartet. The overall lacklustre appeal of these tracks kind of diminishes from that Pixies-magic, which is somewhat disappointing, considering ‘Indie Cindy’ is actually the title track.
The album’s first release ‘Bagboy,’ really brings home all the grungy, alternative elements of Pixies that we know and love. With the ska like yelling of “Like a small bird pretty while it’s crapping on a new day” married up with some howling guitar riffs – you’re instantly taken back to 1989 in a delightfully nostalgic fashion.
From there on in, that beautiful grungy, punk recipe which has been made time and time again seems to teeter off from edgy alternative rock, to regurgitated trash. Which quite honestly, is a down right shame. There doesn’t seem to be anything obviously terrible about Indie Cindy, it just doesn’t deliver anything you’ve not heard before, and doesn’t really give you any desire to listen to it again. From ‘Magdalena 318’ all the way to album finale ‘Jamie Bravo,’ nothing really keeps your attention. For an album I had hoped would grab me in its warm embrace and never let go, I found some relief in the end of this review, and the fact I didn’t have to listen to it again.
Despite all these flaws, you’ve got to give credit where due – Pixies have crafted and stuck to a successful formula for them, which perhaps, if Indie Cindy was released 23 years ago, may have blown minds, but cut back to 2014 and it doesn’t do much aurally.
Irrespective of my seemingly scathing words, I am still painfully excited to check out the awesome foursome at the Sydney Opera House for Vivid Sydney, even if only for the classics.
Pixes Vivid LIVE, Sydney Opera House – May 2014
Friday, May 23
Saturday, May 24
Sunday, May 25
Monday, May 26
Indie Cindy is out on April 25, pre-order it now from iTunes.