Thursday, May 1, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW: Pixies- "Indie Cindy" - Proggy Art Rock and More Mainstream Sounds Co-Exist Together (?)

Guess what? I am going to share my comments about the Pixies latest Album Indie Cindy without one reference (veiled or otherwise) to the iconic albums Surfer Rosa, Doolittle, Bossanova and Trompe Le Monde. Uh... well, from now on I won't mention those albums. Why, might you ask? Simply because I don't compare most musical artists to those pieces of sonic art. It is a silly exercise to take what you feel is the epitome of any art form and to compare all that come after to it. Not only does it miss the point of art of any kind it only dooms you to be disappointed. It also speaks of that kind of smug attitude related to age and supposed wisdom, "Well, back in my day... those bands were something else. Hey get off my lawn!"
Some of the more dismissive music critics are probably poking their eyes out and questioning my rationale, I mean, why not compare the Pixies of now to the Pixies of then??  I would answer by simply saying that the Pixies of now are vastly different people then they were then and that iconic pieces of art becomes iconic in relation to a set point in time, to a set time in history and a million other things all happening at once. Iconic well received art coming to fruition at one point in time might be considered absolute garbage at another time. Enough jibber jabber, let's get to Indie Cindy.

While some of it's parts have been released for some time now, it is the sum of it's parts that make Indie Cindy (for the most part) a stellar piece of work. As an album, from start to finish it fits together so well. It's got the punch, the ebbs and flows in the right places. Beginning with the indie juggernaut "What Goes Boom" with it's galloping rock prog and thick guitar sounds it is a song that charges forth and then plunges into such an embraceable sweet melody on the chorus. Joey Santiago's guitar work really shines. He has not lost a squealing step. "Greens And Blues" feels like a sing-a-long. It sweetly soars. The acoustic breaks and bottom heavy bass line propels this song about Aliens or (feeling like someone out of place). "Indie Cindy" with it's angular choppy guitar attacks and David Lovering's angsty drumming is dreamy and weird at the same time. It deceptively moves along with multiple time signatures forming a complex dance, part art prog rock part rock ballad.

Of all the songs on Indie Cindy, "Bagboy" feels like a descent into something from before (but not). It is ridiculously thick in the abstract and luscious in it's dense production. Black Francis sounds like a diatribe spouting agitator at a 1970's war protest. "Magdalena" with the falsetto vocal performance and almost stalking sense has a glam heart. It is a slow burn with indie pop hooks. "Silver Snail" with it's stair stepping progression has a tinge of psychedelia. It moves trippily along, steady but doesn't dazzle as much as most of the tracks. Aw, yes now on to "Blue Eyed Hexe" - the Pixies AC-DC / boogie song. It did perplex me and will always stand as this kind of weird Pixies song. Do I wish it wasn't on the album, yes.

The amazing "Ring The Bell" seriously induces goosebumps. A beautiful emotionally engaging song, it is pure unadulterated rock pop in the vein of ELO and I absolutely love it. "Another Toe In The Ocean" also swings hard like a more mainstream alternative rock pop song. I heard "Andro Queen" as a Black Francis song long before I heard it as a Pixies song. I always liked it with all it's spacey romance. "Snakes" for me is the sleeper on this album. Like a serpent it is a twisty affair alternating from detuned rock with spaghetti western guitars (which I love) to power poppy sections.

Indie Cindy starts off with a bang and ends with the triumphant  "Jaime Bravo"- a song that brought me to tears the first time I heard it. To be truthful, I was in a funk due to some personal matters and heavy decisions in my life. Still, no other songs touch me on this album the way "Jaime Bravo" does. There is something so utterly sweeping and magical about the tones and energy this song delivers. So heavy and thick with heart that it floods your senses like a million bitter and sweet memories. Such a goddamn great song.

For me, personally, Indie Cindy is an album that has a couple of miss steps but is a remarkable piece of work nonetheless. The Pixies are at this point in time, a band that can create proggy art rock songs right along side more mainstream fare that are both equally compelling. More importantly, they still make me feel something, jab my brain and stab my heart with emotions. I will cherish this album along with the others.
Robb Donker



  1. Great review. And what do you think of "Women of War" ?

    1. Hello Griffe:

      I love that track- It is so compact, jams instantly and in many ways feels very much like something that could of been on Surfer Rosa. I also want to thank you for your kind words about my review and hope you can share it with others if it isn't too much of a hassle.
      take care-