REVIEW: Pixies - Head Carrier

Pixies - Head Carrier (Pixiesmusic/Play It Again Sam)
Pixies - Head Carrier (Pixiesmusic/Play It Again Sam)
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Pixies are back with their second album since their 2004 reformation, and it's fair to say it's one which has divided their fanbase.

Their comeback album, Indie Cindy, three years ago, was their first without bassist Kim Deal, and many diehards just couldn't accept the band without her.

Yes, she was an integral part of the Boston quartet's success and sound before their split in 1993, but the three other original members were on board, and for me that album was unfairly maligned.

No, it was no Doolittle or Surfa Rosa, but it was their first new work in nearly 10 years, and contained some good songs. Surely the important thing was that one of the most influential bands in alternative rock were back.

This follow-up, their sixth studio set, is more of the same, but maybe some of the critics will be appeased now Deal's replacement, Paz Lenchantin, has been confirmed as a full-time member of the band.

It certainly fits the Pixies' unmistakable template of being full of monster-sized riffs, singalong choruses and more reflective moments, often all in the same song.

It starts in solid enough fashion with the title track, and then there's a wonderful change of pace - a trait carried on throughout the record - with Classic Masher, where we hear Lenchantin's backing vocals for the first time.

Baal's Back is the sort of frenzied rush which would make you scared to be too close to frontman Frank Black, and the same goes for lead track Um Chagga Lagga, which maintains another Pixies tradition - leaving you wondering what on earth it's about.

Two other tunes made available before the album's release, Talent and Tenement Song, are classic Pixies, and Bel Esprit, where Black and Lenchantin trade lines, is one of the standouts on the album.

It's unnerving how like Deal the new girl's vocals sound at times, and she takes centre stage and receives her first co-writing credit on All I Think About Now, a slow burner in the same vein of the classic Where Is My Mind?

Overall, it's an album which grows with every listen, and we should just be glad that Pixies are back and making new music, as well as touring and playing the oddball anthems which made us fall in love with them in the first place. 8/10.