Album number six sees the legendary Boston alt-rock quartet in fine fettle and reminding fans of their enduring songwriting quality
After no albums for 22 years it seems almost illicit to be talking now of two Pixies albums in the last three years. If truth be told, 2013’s Indie Cindy was not the return to past glories that fans hoped for. More importantly, though, it wasn’t a record that pissed upon the band’s past glories. It was instead the sound of a band feeling their way back into their songwriting craft. Head Carrier is the conclusion of that process.
It takes a couple of tracks to find it’s feet. The title track opener and follow-on Classic Masher are both enjoyable, but are more important for highlighting the deepening of the band’s sound that comes to full fruition on Baal’s Back. Might As Well Be Gone is where things really begin. Ripe with the vibe and tone found on Doolittle, it hints that the band’s classic sound is back.
It’s a hint that quickly cements itself as certainty on Oona. From here on in you’d be forgiven for thinking that we’re back in 1989, as Tenement Song, All I Think About Now and Um Chagga Lagga blow the dust off the memories of your 17 year-old self thrashing and flailing to Broken Face, Caribou and Debaser.
Theirs is a sound that’s been bought, butchered and borrowed for nearly 30 years. Despite all that, though, there has only ever been one Pixies and their take on the soft/hard, loud/quiet dynamic has never been beaten. Head Carrier might not threaten the highest points of the Pixies’ ridiculously lofty career, but it’s still a hugely enjoyable record. Consequently what it confirms is that, while true genius might be temporary undeniable class is eternity.
Verdict: A fine record by the alt-rock legends