Review: Ups And Downs On A Fine Pixies Return

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PixiesARTIST: Pixies

ALBUM: Indie Cindy

By Zach Buggy

THE comeback of Pixies has received quite a mixed response to say the least.

It was over ten years ago that Black Francis and co. began touring again, and for all the naysayers and negative nellys that called it a ‘cash-grab’, the fact that the band were willing to tour extensively for close to a decade, gives me the impression that the members actually enjoyed performing cuts from their classic discography together.

Last year saw the departure of the band’s original bassist Kim Deal. This caused heartache amongst fans the world over.

Gradually, the purists came forward, giving their two cents as to why the band should pack it in.

Yes, Deal’s bass playing style and signature voice were essentials to the group’s core sound, but at the end of the day, Pixies is the twisted dream of one Black Francis, and accompanied by Joey Santiago’s dirty guitar tone, and David Lovering’s fluid drumming, the trio are getting by just fine.

Indie Cindy is Pixies’ first new album in 23 years, serving as follow up to 1991’s Trompe Le Monde, but it isn’t necessarily an ‘album’ so to speak.

Indie Cindy consists of the three EPs the band have put out since last September – EP-1, EP-2 and EP-3. These three releases mark the first of any new material from the group since 1991.

For the more old school fans out of the loop since the early 90’s, this might not exactly be the comeback album you were expecting, but there’s something here for everyone.

Opening track ‘What Goes Boom’ stinks to high heaven of early Pixies with Black Francis’ seasoned vocals still sounding as quirky and menacing as ever.

From being planted in familiar territory, we’re then instantly hit with the curveball that is ‘Greens & Blues’, a sweet acoustically driven number telling of Francis’ alien nature – “I said I’m human but you know I lie, I’m only visiting this shore.”

Up next comes one of my personal favourites and the albums’s title track ‘Indie Cindy’.

It’s the Pixies we’ve come to know and love, with loud-quiet dynamics accompanied by Francis’ bizarre rambling, but scratch beneath the surface, and it’s simply another song of unrequited love and inferiority – “Indie Cindy, Be in love with me, I beg for you to carry me.”

From there we’re greeted with ‘Bagboy’, the first piece of new material the band offered up almost a year ago. Although there’s no Deal, there are some excellent female backing vocals on this track, making it the closest to any ‘early’ early Pixies material.

From here on the record takes its trip through some serious ups and mild downs. The curious ‘Magdalena’ leads neatly into the atmospheric ‘Silver Snail’, although the two are easily the most forgettable tracks on the record.

Next is the ill-advised ‘Blue Eyed Hexe’, a grungy, Doolittle-era sounding Punk track that comes off a tad try-hard, and a bit embarrassing to be honest.

One of the main things to be said for Indie Cindy is that it’s easily the band’s lightest effort to date, which makes ‘Blue Eyed Hexe’ seem so out of place, like the band are still trying to remind us that they’ve got balls.

Some have already come out and full on panned the record for not adhering to the group’s tried and tested, frantic, loud-quiet, Alterna-Grunge style.

It’s fair that after 23 years fans would expect an album of classic sounding material, but at the same time, why would Black Francis, Joey Santiago, David Lovering and long-time producer Gil Norton want, after over two decades, to release something totally rehashed and uninspired?

The almost Surf-Rock Weezer vibe of ‘Ring The Bell’ is another incredibly refreshing taste to add to the Pixies palette.

As I mentioned earlier, Black Francis’ vocals are a lot more seasoned (23 years will do that, alright), but this makes the entire record more intriguing on a second and third listen.

Indie Cindy opens so strongly before almost doubting itself midway through. The album spends two or three tracks trying to decide what it should it do before ‘Another Toe In The Ocean’ gets things back on track in a big way.

This is another one of the standouts for me, you’ll be humming the chorus to yourself after one listen, I assure you.

‘Andro Queen’ and ‘Snakes’ are again two more relaxed and easy-paced, melodic rock tunes.

Closing track ‘Jaime Bravo’ is a summery song of farewell, and can’t help but leave you with your head bopping and a smile creeping across your face.

And, that’s Indie Cindy, folks. Was it worth the wait is a question that only each personal fan will be able to answer.

Is it a good album, not a doubt. It has some excellent tracks, some reminiscent of classic Pixies, while others take the band in new, and interesting directions.

All in all, there’s something here for every Pixies fan, it’s up to you, the listener, how much you either want to appreciate the new material on offer or grumble over how it’s not the exact same as everything else they’ve released.

I know which I’m going with.


• Pixies play Marlay Park in Dublin with Arcade Fire on Sunday, June 29, and their own headline show the following night at the Marquee in Cork. Tickets are on sale now via ticketmaster.


  1. John Buggy says:

    Well I might be a little biased but I think that review says it all! I’m certainly going to give ‘Indie Cindy’ a listen…or two…

  2. Norma Harrington says:

    Great review! Great album!