When the Pixies announced that they were reuniting in 2011 after an eleven-year hiatus, the wave of excitement which crashed into the remaining residents of the alt-rock and indie nations was staggering. A whole new breed of Pixies fan – who had heard the music and heard the band championed by other musicians held in high regard (like Kurt Cobain and Billy Corgan) but had never experienced the band firsthand before – came out of the woodwork in droves; they were READY for this, they WANTED the return of the Pixies.They were a little disappointed when the band issued ANOTHER statement stating that they had no plans to write and record new music and they’d only be returning as a live entity, but it didn’t stall anything dramatically. Fans took and enjoyed what they could get and the band (for their part) gave all they had; Black Francis, Joey Santiago and David Lovering (as well as Kim Deal – until recently) proved that their music could still easily command a crowd and make some great new memories on a live stage, and it didn’t just translate as a nostalgia trip.
How the Pixies played their reunion was pretty great, actually. Because they were upfront about the fact that no one should expect new music, concertgoers just enjoyed the show without hesitation or restraint; it was a very pure experience and, after they ran it for ten years [three years longer than they had when they were actually producing albums –ed], THEN they figured it should be time to throw their devout legion a bone. They deserved it; their fans had been true, and Indie Cindy (which compiles the limited-run EPs that the band released in late 2013 and early 2014) was their reward.
The reasoning and logic for this release is almost childlike in its simplicity, but the music on the album plays in perfect counterpoint to that spirit. Indie Cindy is sensational, but it is not simple.
It’s worth pointing out that, unlike every other studio album in the Pixies’ catalogue, there is no central sonic focus about Indy Cindy. The album utilizes sounds from all-over the band’s established palette (some aggro-indie, alt-rock and post-punk from Come On Pilgrim and Surfer Rosa, some more subdued, slick and poppy rock found on Doolittle and Bossanova) and just mashes it all together in a form which some might call scattered, but really listening to these songs reveals that the intention is to collect all of the different sounds the Pixies have played with and present them as a coherent whole. Looking at it that way, Indie Cindy does present a couple of knockout highlights along the way – “Bagboy” sounds a little broken and a little infectious just like the better moments on Surfer Rosa, “Blue Eyed Hexe,” “Madgalena 318” and “J’aime Bravo” all have a great, echoey bounce which makes each feel like the best, most ironic, danceable hits since “Here Comes Your Man” and “Dig For Fire” – but even the weakest album cuts (see “Another Toe In The Ocean” specifically) are earnestly presented with gentility.
Because of the smoothness of Indie Cindy‘s running, it’s easy to want to sit with this album and just listen to it as often as it takes to absorb every word and every note; it doesn’t break new ground for the Pixies, but it is satisfying. Even with that said though, Indie Cindy doesn’t imply that it is the jumping off point for a host of new albums; as “J’aime Bravo” bangs along petulantly to close the album, one can only assume that more releases are possible but unlikely. That may sound bittersweet, but it isn’t meant to; this record came along because Black Francis, Joey Santiago and David Lovering wanted it to – they WILLED it into existance – and it stands to reason that they could do it again if they so chose. By the same token, if they chose to do no more, Indie Cindy could stand well as the Pixies’ last word, if it needed to.
Pixies – Indie Cindy – “Busboy” – [mp3] http://www.groundcontrolmag.com/music/Pixies-Bagboy.mp3
Pixies – Indie Cindy (Record Store Day vinyl bonus track) – “Women Of War” – [mp3] http://www.groundcontrolmag.com/music/Pixies-Women_of_War.mp3