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Mark Evans

CD of The Week

Week of 9/16/19

    Pixies - Beneath The Eyrie (Infectious / BMG)

    One could say that the legendary alt/indie rockers Pixies have had two phases. One in the late '80s until their breakup in 1993 and the other after they reformed to tour in 2004 (subsequent albums did not come until 2013). One could also argue that Pixies are, and always will be, exactly what they are, take 'em or leave 'em. A recent interview with Black Francis and Joey Santiago about the release of their seventh album (their third during "phase 2") Beneath The Eyrie revealed that the music is what drives them and not much else. They don't put forth a lot of effort in creating any sort of distinct aura. Fans can grumble about the loss of bassist Kim Deal, but to the remaining members of the band, Paz Lenchantin is the ideal complement. Truth be told, musically she injects the same energy and fun as Kim, even her vocal styling sounds similar.

    Beneath The Eyrie is mostly a gothic album, as opposed to "goth." We get weirdly whimsical fairy tales and spooky stories of witches, death and aging, all punctuated by their slightly redefined signature sound. The songs here are more anthemic and structured, maybe less frenetic than the early stuff. "Catfish Kate" is absurdist folklore about an epic underwater battle between a fisherwoman and, you guessed it, a fish. The surrealism of "Silver Bullet" embraces their traditional loud-soft dynamic, while Lenchantin's lead vocals are especially haunting on "Los Surfers Muertos;" revisiting another one of their favorite dishes, surf rock. On "Bird of Prey," we get creepy lyrics about resetting broken bones.

    Pixies have dabbled in the macabre before, but here the effort is more cohesive. Spirits of the past are revisited, but not rehashed. They still know how to have fun, too. Just check out the lively percussion breaks in the drinking song "This Is My Fate." If you were looking for that old spark, here's where you'll find it. All in all, it's their best effort of this new dawning proving that Pixies just might be aging like a fine wine.
    Review by Dave Lindquist

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