The Pixies are a special band, being the major component to 90s alt rock and the catalyst to the grunge music scene two decades ago. What made them plunge into the hearts of rock-loving fans were their two magnum opus’s: Doolittle and Surfer Rosa. This is only what their new album, Head Carrier cannot be, but what it can be is the sixth studio album of the Pixies, a band so major it’s hard to fathom the influence they’ve had.
The three singles, released before the album’s release, Talent, Tenement Song and Um Chagga Lagga had us on the edge of our seats with the distinct return to their well-known strong melodic rhythms, especially in Talent with Black’s murky speaking tone and elevated singing voice. Then the memorable, head-nodding choral music of Tenement Song. Um Chagga Lagga is a fun, quick-tempo song with dirty out-of-time noise rock mixed with Black’s nonsensical shouting that’s nicely acquainted with new bassist, Paz Lenchantin’s vocals.
“It has characteristics of their old stuff
with the sound of where they are now.”
Head Carrier is a new turn to the old, after the so-so reviews of 2014’s comeback, Indie Cindy. It’s a more controlled return to style and form, lyrically haunting and slick, loud melodies of Joey Santiago’s guitar and a consistent grunge thump of Lovering’s drumming. Paz brings a new, much-missed charm, taking the baton from Kim Deal with ease – with Might As Well Be Gone acting as a sort of ode to Deal: ‘You’re the chosen one, but I could use a change.’ All I Think About Now, written and sung by Paz Lenchantin, is a direct thank you to Deal, sounding like her own version of Where Is My Mind?
Black gets back to his unmistakeable and characteristic screaming in Baal’s Back and ends the album with an almost Bossanova feel with All the Saints. Of course it’s difficult to compare this album to their past achievements, but this is still the Pixies, changing but somehow sticking to their guns. It has the characteristics of their old stuff with the sound of where they are now.
Head Carrier was released 30th September 2016