Hearing Aide: Pixies ‘Indie Cindy’
Imagine, if you will, Phish took a twenty year plus studio hiatus during which time hundreds of bands tried, for a lack of a better term, to emulate their sound. After this long pause from recording and losing one of its founding members, lets say bassist Mike Gordon, they came out with a record named “Jam Pam”. Skepticism would hardly describe the reception the album may receive. It would almost seem they were trying to prove their relevance; that they were still the kings of the “Jamband” world. This scenario is exactly what occurred with the Pixies and their new album Indie Cindy. The pessimists were out there only to be pleasantly surprised that the Pixies were able to not only keep themselves relevant, but prove they are the kings of indie rock, the sound they pioneered.
“What Goes Boom”, the opening track, is a perfect example of the Pixies not missing a beat with its hard-edged guitar riffs and the howling of Frank Black, only to slow things down and hear Black’s soothing voice. The chorus kicks in and Black’s voice descends into a howling, sprinkled with anger, only to be bridged with a melodic comforting sound that keeps the listener engaged, hearing all the different sounds the Pixies have made a constant in their song writing. “Greens and Blues” shows the diversity in the band’s arrangements with a more personal, slower song for anyone who feels, or has ever felt, they are fighting an uphill battle trying to win over the affection of another. The chorus goes, “I’m wasting your time, just talking to you. Maybe best you go on home. I’ll leave you alone, fade from your mind, slip into the greens and blues”. Listening to this, you can feel the longing and wanting, knowing that a one-sided love is being perused. Frank Black expresses a deeply personal journey of love and the realization that sometimes having to face the truth that love may not always be from who you want, and letting that person go, is the best for both involved. The harder, more spoken word side emerges in the next few tracks, distancing itself from the mundane indie sound while keeping their roots planted in the genre.
They bring it back to the what made the Pixies sound the foundation of indie rock with ”Ring The Bell”. The song begins with a high-pitched vocal over the symphonic guitar playing of Joe Santiago and the David Lovering’s drums. Bass riffs and angelic backing vocals were provided by newcomer, Paz Lenchantin, whose job replacing founding member Kim Deal was not easy. Lenchantin is an established bassist, having had stints in Zwan, Queens of the Stoneage, and the Silver Jews among many others, fitting the new Pixies lineup to a T. “Andro Queen”, lends more of an abstract feel to the record, one which was not needed, but greatly appreciated. Showing diversity at this point in their career only proves that they are back as a band and not just and old act trying to cash in on past successes. “Jaime Bravo” sends the album off on very positive note, hitting on all of the Pixies strong points. The lyrics leave the listener with a farewell goodbye with the chorus, “Goodbye, Goodnight”.
Although it has been over twenty years since hitting the studio, the Pixies have found themselves at home. They’ve made an album that is not only relevant in the indie world today, but one that lets everyone know that they are back and have not lost a step. They will be bringing their live show to the States in September after a stint in Europe to promote this very important album in indie rock.
Key Tracks: Greens and Blues, Ring the Bell, Jaime Bravo