Pixies’ album holds true to roots

By Carl Nadig

The departure of a band member isn’t keeping alternative rock group Pixies from releasing their decent “Indie Cindy” album.

The lyrics of the album’s title track, “Indie Cindy,” revolve around the band’s reunion.

“What Goes Boom” is a solid start to the album, but it is a forgettable track compared to the rest of the record. The song’s chorus is wonderfully written, almost like a teenage love letter, but the spoken-word verses are whiny and annoying.

Just like songs in previous Pixies’ tracks, “Greens and Blues” chirps a trembling guitar effect that doesn’t seem out of place for guitarist Joey Santiago’s range. There’s less experimentation from the lead guitar, but that doesn’t mean the track is dull or uninteresting. Instead, all of the experimentations are focused more on percussion.

For a moment, the album possesses simplicity and easygoing rhythms, and then it unexpectedly shifts to strange experimentation. In “Bagboy,” percussionist David Lovering provides snare effects that sound like they’re from Radiohead’s “In Rainbows.” This leaves the question of “What has he been listening to for the past decade?”

Arguably, “Indie Cindy” doesn’t sound like a complete Pixies album without original bassist Kim Deal, who brought so much chaos and balance to Black Francis’ lead vocals. Without Deal, “Indie Cindy” has a fatter bass sound and doesn’t move away from that dynamic. Compared to the Pixies’ earlier work, “Indie Cindy” doesn’t utilize the shift in their sound’s dynamic and volume control. The entire record feels overpowering and its volume never decreases, a quality that’s most recognizable in Surfer Rosa’s “Where Is My Mind?”

Yet, the band stays true to its punk rock roots in its best moments, especially in “Blue Eyed Hexe,” a song that’s energetically on par with the hardcore drive found in “U-Mass.” A gem of a song like this is short and sweet.

The album has some wonderful, thought-provoking lyricism, such as the “For what’s missing, I’ll sacrifice my flesh, only kissing you is so hard in this wild thresh” in “Andro Queen.” To my ears, the album should’ve ended with this wonderfully sweet declaration.