By Liz Penry, Contributor
[Play It Again Sam; 2016]
Key Tracks: “Head Carrier,” “Classic Masher,” “All I Think About Now”
The once iconic alternative rock band has overstayed their visit in the ever-so changing land of music production. Although Head Carrier, the latest release from Pixies, is superior over their disastrous proceeding album, Indie Cindy, it still is nothing close to Sufer Rosa and Doolittle.
By replacing their previous bassist, Kim Shuttuck (who replaced their original and very pivotal bassist Kim Deal), with Paz Lenchatin, Pixies have restored their original sound of joint choruses, dynamic harmonies, and edgy guitar riffs. Unfortunately, this signature combination of grunge, punk, and surfer-rock feels more forced than sincere, almost as if this new album is trying too hard to be a repeat of the past, instead of creating something new and heartfelt.
The track “All I Think About Now,” written by Black Francis and sung by Paz Lenachatin, serves as a thank you tribute to ex-bassist Kim Deal. Although sentimental, this song, ironically, is just an evident echo of their most famous hit “Where is My Mind?” The opening even states, “I try to think about tomorrow, but I always think about the past,” if it is not already obvious that Pixies now are puppets of their former, raw selves.
There are a few highlights throughout the album, though, including the title track, “Head Carrier,” and “Classic Masher,” that reminds the audience of Pixies’ golden age, without the sounds and melodies being too replicated. These songs give a more warm and upbeat outlook to the dark and sexual driven vibe that Pixies seem to possess. They have catchy melodies, and energetic counterparts, surrounding the beloved Pixies tone.
Head Carrier makes it clear that Pixies are maturing, physically and mentally. They have turned into a group of college rockers stuck inside the minds and bodies of middle-aged Americans. Although they do not have the same dark and exciting charisma that they did in the late ’80s and ’90s, their sound is still continuing on. With this album being certainly better than what was prior, Head Carrier leaves potential greatness for the reformed Pixies to come, even if their revisit into the music world has seemed too prolonged.