The Pixies – EP2 (2014)
by Jeff Rey Key

It's hard for bands to come back from a long, or really any layoff, and not miss a proverbial beat. People change, music changes. Most end up doing Greatest Hits Tours at County Fairs, and offering up pale shadows of their former musical selves. Others try to regrettably remodel themselves like an old house that can be flipped into a modern chill pad. Not so for the always edgy Pixies.

Starting from Joey Santiago's opening guitar rips on “Blue Eyed Hexe”, the EP's lead­off track, there is a sense that the building tensions within the band, the growing pains, and the anticipation of eager fans, following last years decent Indie Cindy, may have borne fruit. This EP has quite a bit of variety, as have most Pixie's releases.

“Hexe” is a rip­roaring trip through occult visions driven by Santiago's substantial riffs and lead tears. Consistently one of the most underrated among punk and alternative guitarists, perhaps overshadowed by the eccentric savant Black Francis (nee Frank Black) on vocals, and former larger than life (see how I resisted saying Gigantic? Well, maybe not..) bassist Kim Deal, he shines here. Francis' alternately howling, screeching, always visceral vocals and vibrant lyrics perfectly complement Santiago’s guitar heroics on this phantasmal track. Hearing “Hexe”, you might mistake it for a track of the early EP Come On Pilgrim or debut LP Surfer Rosa.


Next up is the ethereal and psychedelic “Magdalena”. The thumping bass, and Francis' falsettos carry this track, seemingly dealing with obsession, addiction, and the passage of time, telling a disjointed story of what might be a sort of love.

“Greens and Blues” is pure pop, echoey guitars and sometimes deadpan lyrics reminiscent of The Beatles. This is the one track on the EP that might blend into any of their past albums, without being able to pinpoint it's place in the nearly 30 year time line. “Snakes” continues on the same vein, very melodic, but a little harder edged, and far catchier. See if “Snakes are coming to your town...” doesn't stick with you a while. David Loverling's drums propelling what might have been a mellow pop song into something more urgent, and anxious.

Overall, this is a great EP, “Blue Eyed Hexe” “Magdalena” and “Snakes” all real gems that fit nicely into The Pixies formidable catalog.

It's hard to get over former bassist Kim Deal's absence. Her original, strong bass lines gave some depth and low end to The Pixies (pre­2013) releases, that hasn't been evident since. Nor can her also strong, but seductive backing (and occasional lead) vocals be replaced. Luckily, The Pixies haven't tried to find a mimic or a substandard replacement. The bass lines here are pretty straightforward, and no female backing vocals. It would be such a dream if she were here for this, but EP 2 stands up on it's own, both as a solid alternative rock, and Pixies release, that gets better with, and deserves repeated listening!

Jeff Rey Key PunkRockClub.com

 

" This is a WELCOMED surprise... I personally feel they haven't lost a beat. They are quite in step with earlier work. The guitars are straight out of the rich Pixies library of sounds and the unexpected harmonies are what made them famous..... and really, what made us take notice of them in the first place....."

   

The PIXIES: Return To Greatness
By Ted Cantu

You know when art has made it to greatness when video documentary producers hire a British guy to narrate it for the audience. This somehow gives it an added sense of importance and makes it official. I have seen this done for Egyptian archeology, UFO documentaries and specials on Leonardo DiVinci. Actually, placing the Pixies right up there with those categories just feels right. The meanings of their complex music catalog calls out to all of those areas and even beyond. I think the true meaning of their songs exists somewhere between the atoms in all forms. Not in the parts where matter comes together but in the space in between where the atoms don’t physically touch. Make no mistake…. Their artistry is important.

 

 
THE PIXIES - The band is back and brings its A game to a curious collection of musical insights to the world you live in.


I’ve always known this to be true. I remember seeing the Doolittle tour in Detroit at St. Andrews Hall. I was in the front 5 rows and it was in the middle of the song, “Where is My Mind” when something made me turn around and look towards the back of the auditorium. In the ghostly chorus I looked back at the expressionless faces behind me watching this show. My inner voice said, “Remember this moment” and I knew that at that exact moment it would be etched into my heart, brain and psyche forever. Those faces were fixated in awe at the mighty sounds that forever changed conventional rock music. There are not too many memories like that in my concert going experience. Some shows are just for fun, some shows are about rebellion and noise. But the Pixies were forever.

 

They are back…. from a long hiatus. The whole gang is back minus Kim Deal. And by the whole gang I am referring to legendary graphic designer Vaughn Oliver from the 4AD record label days. It his Oliver’s lush and rough juxtaposition of typography and photography that brought visual life to the Pixies gigantic sound. The symbiotic relationship is self absorbed and co-creative. The album is on the Pixies own label this time around and the sounds are melodic and meaningful and not forced. This sounds like a Pixies record and has the entire signature notes from the, “Trompe Le Monde” and, “Bossonova” days.

 

Is the album enjoyable? Oh yes, “Magdalena” is a hypnotic song based on some sort of obsession that only Black Francis could do. I think that is what he calls himself these days but don’t quote me on it. I liked his other alter ego too as Frank Black. Both personas were unique into their own right. Both of them had something in common and that was the enjoyment of tap dancing on your raw nerve endings.  This is well crafted obsession, dark, obtrusive and brooding. You almost don’t want it to end and once it does it instantly invites another listen.

 

In, “Ring the Bell” Black Francis is addressing a distant memory and a reluctance to go back. He almost feels obligated to go back with someone of importance. It is a cheerful song and is instantly appreciated. Someone on YouTube commented, “Oh joy, they did a Christmas song….” But the depths of this song go deeper than any kind of frivolous holiday song. There is meaning here and drives into a soul search where Black exclaims, “My heart is empty….” I listen to this and wonder to myself what took them so long to come out with this album.

 

This is atmospheric. There are many emotions here on this release. It also fits into the rest of the catalog and wasn’t just slapped together for convenience. That being said there is plenty of respect given to the fans here and that is extraordinary. I mean, that is big for everybody and also gives the fan base something to latch onto.

 

 
THE PIXIES - Ring The Bell - From The Album, "Indy Cindy"

 

 

The Pixies have given a lot of meaning to the word, “Alternative Music” and in many ways helped shape it and define it into something of an industry. The early 90’s were such a constructive time for music with so many influences rushing the airwaves from The Smashing Pumpkins, Live, They Might Be Giants and so many others. Now as the years settle the critics and music aficionados fondly remember certain favorites. Even David Bowie responds to this rise of the Pixies in a documentary in 2007. These are all fantastic recollections but I could hardly bare to watch them on television or on the web without feeling the yearning for more iconic material. The Pixies new music is something of a celebration and this encourages joy. The heart feels complete and has new reasons for beating.

 

When you hear Andro Queen everything about the Pixies should become immediate. There is nobody who can really master the sounds and put them together in such an off worldly way. The overall sound is comprehensive and rich and audio accoutrements are intact. This is a band that will give you the sounds of outer space and even the audio verbal nods to barking sea monkeys. What other band is going to give you a complete sound of life and everything in it. There are no unanswered questions in this release and that feels pretty good.

 

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The Pixies Return To Rock - Indy Cindy Review - EP2 Review | Detroit Michigan

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