There’s a line in the recent Pixies single ‘Bag Boy,’ that kind of summarizes the sudden EP of new recorded music for the first time in 22 years. “So disappointed I was/that I had to make small talk with you/I’m not feelin’ your buzz/I only smell your crock of stew.”
I mean, let’s review the facts here. The band reunited in 2003 and has toured off and on over the past 10 years, flirting with the idea of ‘will they or won’t they…’ add to their legacy and release new music. Kim Deal left the group in mid-June and here we are less than three months later with four additional tracks to accompany the previously released ‘Bag Boy.’ One cannot help but wonder if Kim’s leaving had anything to do with a feeling that the new music (if she were privy to it) was not up to snuff.
The good news is that the songs get progressively better as one moves through the EP from start to finish. Unfortunately, I think the lack of:
1. Kim Deal
2. Drugs consumed to make recorded music
3. Youthful Exuberance
Severely taint my vision of what this could be. I feel my colleague, Gonzo, hit it on the head in his critique of ‘Bag Boy.’ Each one of these tunes tend to overstay their welcome. An average Pixie album would be lucky to clock in at a 30-minute listen. These five songs clock in at just under 20 minutes, with ‘Motorway to Roswell’ off of 1991’s Trompe Le Monde clocking in at 4:43 being the longest tune in their discography until ‘Bag Boy’ clocked in at 4:52.
My question is this, ‘who the f*ck wants to listen to a five minute Pixies tune?’ The beauty of their heyday was their albums came in, did their job, and got out. No muss, no fuss and it’s part of the reason why those albums have such a strong ability to hold up after all these years. You never had time to get sick of individual tracks and their sum truly did make up the whole on the records.
These tracks, by comparison are disjointed and run too long. There are traces of style and vocal presentation, but they are not the norm. ‘Andro Queen,’ features Francis’ signature falsetto and a driving acoustic back-beat. It meanders as one of the shorter songs on the EP though and never seems to really take off. ‘Another Toe,’ sounds like a Frank Black (circa 1993-1996) B-Side at best. Aside from the guitar solo and some post-punk posturing…it’s a toss-away. ‘Indie Cindy,’ starts off as a drawl before Francis’ familiar talk-sing verses and crooning choruses come into play. ‘What Goes Boom,’ is basically the Ramones ‘Sheena Was a Punk Rocker,’ on steroids (but not Acid…)
All in all, save for maybe ‘What Goes Boom,’ its a disappointment. One would hope if they continue to produce music together that they continue to circle the wagons and maybe do some acid. They may want to hire (and listen to) Deal on some consulting while they’re at it. That being said, it beats Black’s penchant for Country Western…