Head Carrier

Pixies

PIAS, 2016

http://www.pixiesmusic.com

REVIEW BY: Ludwik Wodka

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/07/2016

I suppose I should begin by stating that like a lot of music fans my age, the Pixies is cherished as one of the quintessential indie rock bands of the late ‘80s and early 1990s. However, I did feel that the negativity that greeted 2014’s Indie Cindy was largely unjustified and rather enjoyed the album. It seemed to me to be what a follow-up to my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Trompe Le Monde would have probably sounded like if released in the early or mid-1990s – and if memory serves, most fans at the time grudgingly accepted Trompe Le Monde, still peeved that the Pixies hadn’t released Doolittle: Part 2.

In the wake of Indie Cindy, Pixies fans seemed to have lowered their expectations, but thankfully, the Pixies did not. Head Carrier surprises not just because is it just good, but because they are magically able to summon that same sound – the same hooks, the same weird, offbeat lyrics, the same tortured wails of Joey Santiago’s guitar, the same… well, the same Pixies. With all due respect to Kim Deal (replaced on this album by Paz Lenchantin), Head Carrier feels like a remarkable return to form.

Highlights from the album include the title track, “Oona,” “Talent,” and “Um Chagga Lagga,” which all possess the kind of nervous, volatile energy that made the band’s earlier work so compelling. Also noteworthy is “All I Think About Now,” co-written by Frank Black/Black Francis (a.k.a. Charles Thompson) and Paz Lenchantin. It opens with a guitar line that is clearly meant to echo the opening 1988’s “Where Is My Mind,” but it is a melancholy meditation on looking backward. While this is almost an inevitable subject for artists that are getting long in the tooth, at the same time it holds up a kind of mirror to listeners like myself, along with all of the discomfort that comes with it.

While it is easy to smirk at the self-deprecating lyrics like “I’m going down the drain, again,” it is also a delight to hear this band produce an album as satisfying as this one, especially after the 23-year hiatus between Trompe Le Monde (1991) and Indie Cindy (2014).

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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