Who would have thought a Pixies record would ever be described as bland, dull and uninspired? I wouldn’t, but here I am writing this Indie Cindy review. Indie Cindy contains the twelve songs the band first released on three seperate EPs and it’s a terribly conventional middle-of-the-road indie rock affair that lacks everything that made the Pixies a household name back in the day. With the departure of Kim Deal, the Pixies seem to have lost more than just a band member: there’s a gaping hole where the band’s unique personality used to be.
Black Francis, David Lovering and Joey Santiago managed to churn out a dozen new tracks, something that started late last year and continued up to the release of the 3rd EP, which hit March 24th. The first taste listeners got from their new material was ‘Bagboy’, an interesting track to say the least: an uncharacteristic electronic bass and beat kicked off the song and were only later joined by Lovering’s thumping drums, Santiago’s snarling lead guitar and Francis’ signature voice and distorted chords. Stylistically it was quite a departure from the Pixies catalog of old, but the inclusion of some of the band’s hallmarks made fans salivate for more. The obvious attempt to imitate Deal’s vocals during its chorus was in bad taste, but we looked past that. Was this song a sign of what was to come? A new Pixies sound and the triumphant return of one of history’s most interesting bands? Sadly the answer turned out to be a resounding no.
Indie Cindy has some moments of decency but they’re few and far between, and they’re actually only decent because they harken back to an era of much better Pixies music. ‘Silver Snail’ for example borrows heavily from classic track ‘Velouria’, but never reaches its heights. In comparison ‘Silver Snail’ is a track that lacks teeth and isn’t as dynamic or heartfelt as the much better Bossanova song. Gone are Francis’ screams that would take you by surprise, absent is Santiago’s relentless noisy guitar play, vanished has the otherworldly sound the Pixies were known for and Kim Deal’s solid driving basslines are sorely missed. Pixies records always felt raw, earnest and decisively weird, but Indie Cindy sounds overproduced, tame and generic instead. In addition the lyrics are cringeworthy most of the time. “I needed something to eat, I took a walk down the street,” the frontman sings on ‘Magdalena’, “Snakes are coming to your town in tunnels underground, some traveling overground,” on ‘Snakes’, and on ‘Another Toe’ he chants the equally idiotic “I have a drink, I start to sink, I put my toe in the ocean.” They’re vapid little rhymes that make you feel embarassed for Black Francis and this band that claims to be the Pixies, because wit, humor and sophistication used to be a big part of the lyrics and their allure, something that used to be essential to the Pixies’ brand of anarchic alternative rock music.
The new Pixies album makes you want to forget you ever heard it: there’s no artistry here, nothing that lives up to the band’s rich back catalog. Instead we get a record you wish was made by a poor man’s Pixies knock-off band, thus leaving your fond memories of the real group untarnished. 3/10