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Pixies, Beneath The Eyrie - album review

Boston grunge darlings Pixies are back, and perhaps in a more reflective mood then ever before.

The album cover
The album cover

Their first album since 2016's Head Carrier, it is less full-on guitars blaring than 2014 return Indie Cindy. Instead, we have some pretty bleak soundscapes that come across more than a bit Nick Caveish.

It's good stuff, showing a different side to their songwriting - perhaps a sign of things to come with Paz Lenchantin having replaced Kim Deal on bass since Head Carrier was crafted.

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Silver Bullet is one such track, with Black Francis sounding deeper, more introspective compared to the screeching days of Surfer Rosa and Doolittle - well, he is 30 years older after all. The Cave-like sound comes through that folorn guitar melody that waits for the big-hitting chorus to kick in. Despite the softer sound, it's still undeniably Pixies.

Daniel Boone follows suit. David Lovering calmly keeps time on the drums as guitars softly carry Francis and Lenchantin's vocals forward on this heartbroken atmosphere. It's a beautiful track, well mastered by Tom Dalgety (Ghost, Royal Blood).

There are, of course, those moments which hark back to the jagged, screaming guitars they favoured in their younger days that made Bag Boy off Indie Cindy such a fine return after their 13-year recording hiatus.

Opening track In The Arms Of Mrs. Mark Of Cain manages to blend those Pixes and Cave elements seamlessly. The whining guitar from Joey Santiago sounds enticing all the way through. He really lets it sing as we build to the not-so-passive aggressive chorus they can craft so well.


Los Surfers Muertos is a deep, brooding number with that kind of lazy bass they like to throw in that meanders like a hungover teenager stumbling towards the carton of orange juice sitting enticingly in the fridge. It's one of a number of tracks on the record carrying a Western vibe at its core.

Another is the stumbling cattle town saloon feel to This Is My Fate. One of the messier tracks on the album it combines all three elements described so far and feels like the saloon pianist playing a tune to warn about an upcoming gunfight he has sensed.

It's a good listen, although perhaps misses the bigger grunge-fest slugs they have produced previously. But these are Pixies, and have more than earned the right to do whatever the hell they want and make it sound good.

Rating: 7/10

Pixies will perform at Birmingham's O2 Academy on Monday

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