It’s nigh on impossible to gauge the impact a band like PIXIES have exerted over modern indie music. It all started with a hairy back and songs about moose deer-like animals and broken faces. Come on Pilgrim and Surfer Rosa provided a brutal yet beautiful blast to the listener’s cranium, latterly assisted by the legendary studio engineer, Steve Albini. A shock to the system, these two albums recast punk within a dirty, over-sexualised atmosphere where gargantuan drums and raucous guitars tore at your frail senses, backed up and tipped over by the twin assault of Kim Deal’s scarred angel voice and Black Francis’s guttural scream-roar.
It was exactly what this writer needed to exorcise the tame melodies of Deacon Blue. It actually changed my whole approach to music: it became a visceral, sometimes naughty thrill. Shows at De Montfort Hall, Brixton Academy and Crystal Palace cemented their position along with subsequent, even more successful releases, now the stuff of legend – Doolittle, Trompe Le Monde, Bossanova.
Then Kim left to form The Breeders and the band split, leaving space for the likes of Throwing Muses, Pavement, Dinosaur Jr and, of course, Nirvana to jump in and wrestle away the crown. Not that the bands were actively in competition with each other; yet when one slips away, another will be there to take its place. It’s how the industry works. Inevitably, they reformed for ‘that’ Alexandra Palace Gig in the late 90’s, a kind of greatest hits swerve and dive movement. It was, naturally, AMAZING – loud, life-saving and enhancing.
Since then, a series of albums for the faithful and new fans – Indie Cindy , followed by Head Carrier in 2016. They’ve toured and been adored by a new generation. They’ve all grown older, of course, as have some of their listeners. However, the new material reveals somewhat of a rebirth. Joey, Black, David and recent bass recruit Paz Lenchantin are releasing a new LP in September, titled Beneath The Eyrie, and produced by Tom Dalgety, who was also at the helm for Head Carrier. Written during 2018 and recorded in December near Woodstock, NY, it will be the eighth overall Pixies studio recording. The lead track, ‘On Graveyard Hill’, is meaty, infused with the trademark controlled noise and clearly works itself up into a neat, slightly gothic sweat. You can check it out right now….
Following a festival appearance in late August, Pixies will embark on a world tour, taking in Cardiff, Plymouth and other UK venues before crossing over into Europe, taking the band to 33 cities in 16 countries. Tickets can be obtained via the band’s website - http://www.pixiesmusic.com
Pixies' shows are simultaneously electrifying and lo-fi with the main focus on the music and almost no between-song banter. The band will rehearse and be prepared to play some 90 songs from all points of its career, as well as introducing songs from the new album. And, as there is no nightly set list, the songs that are performed at every show are determined mere seconds in advance. From a live onstage mic that feeds only to the band members, sound engineer and lighting director, Black Francis calls out what the next song will be. This has to make the prospect of seeing Pixies again hugely exciting, as there will be an unpredictability to the sets that may more accurately reflect their crazed, unhinged punk antics of yesteryear.
Pixies – always bound to confound expectations. Join in the fray; Pixies remain, let them stain your soul with discoloured, squalling angel dust.