Amongst the relatively recent spate of comeback albums, from My Bloody Valentine to Black Sabbath, Pixies’ is surely the most contentious. Certainly there's been a very vocal response in some quarters: “No! Stop! Don’t sully your legacy!”
It’s kind of a weird response. Pixies have now been a reunion act for three years more than they were together first time around – their initial run, from 1986 to 1993, followed by a reformation in 2004. Live, they’re still an incendiary act. But just trotting out the hits year after year is surely more of a debasement (sorry) of their reputation than heading back to the studio and writing something new.
Which is what they have done – but are the results any good? Some would have you believe that ‘Indie Cindy’, the band’s fifth LP arriving just the 23 years after ‘Trompe Le Monde’ – and yes, that is a god-awful title – is on a par with Bowie’s ‘Tonight’ in the ‘iconic artists losing their shit’ stakes. It’s not.
The truth about ‘Indie Cindy’ – to these ears, anyway – is that it’s neither the Second Coming nor ‘Second Coming’. It’s occasionally excellent, more often okay.
Opener ‘What Goes Boom’ rocks like a bastard, while The Cult-ish ‘Blue Eyed Hexe’ wails with supernatural swagger. ‘Bagboy’ flirts with a new synthesizer-sculpted direction (absent elsewhere) and is a comparative sprawl of an arrangement for this band, clocking in at five minutes when Pixies songs of old would often slam themselves shut before three had passed.
But a spread of sweeter songs unbalances proceedings. ‘Greens And Blues’, ‘Andro Queen’ and ‘Jaime Bravo’ are all lovely, but lack the sonic spite that this band was famous for. And it goes without saying that Kim Deal is sorely missed.
Perhaps surprisingly, given the time between the collections, this does feel like the natural follow-up to 1991’s ‘Trompe Le Monde’. Sure, there are Pixies fans that would have preferred another ‘Doolittle’ instead, but ‘Indie Cindy’ isn’t bad, not bad at all.
Words: Will Salmon
- - -
- - -