Indie Cindy is the first new Pixies full-length since 1991 (Trompe le Monde). After the band reunited a few years back for the tour circuit the rumors of new material started to flow, the band continued to tour, and nothing came out. Eventually, shortly after the departure of original bassist Kim Deal (The Breeders), the band put out three EPs starting in 2013. Indie Cindy is the first (collected) recording to not include Deal and there is question if it can really be a Pixies disc without her—not to mention the, how shall I put it, often subpar albums that come from reunions. If there’s one thing the Pixies did right here, it was to rekindle the fire of the band for a few years before jumping back into the studio. It shows, as they feel like a band and not just a cash grab.
I admittedly didn’t give the EPs much of a chance—I heard a couple streaming songs, thought, “Eh, that sucks,” and forgot about it. When it’s all put together for Indie Cindy, though, it sounds like a record, and a surprisingly cohesive one for a band whose last release came two decades ago. Frank Black has proven that, when he wants to, he can always crank out Pixies-styled hits (see his Bluefinger record) and he revives that spark again. Yes there are some missteps (“Another Toe in the Ocean” is basically a pop song, “Jaime Bravo” is uninspired and lifeless—which I’d feared the entire record would be—and “Silver Snail” is just bland). But those are just a few songs and, sequenced well within the whole, they’re bumps in the road instead of a gaping chasm where the vehicle plunders into wreckage.
“Greens and Blues” is a wavy, up-and-down song that pulls on Black’s emphatic vocals with his carefully placed accentuation to increase the drama that brings the midtempo song home. The speak-sing of “Indie Cindy” is befitting of the band’s tendency to be a bit out there, pushing the limits of a pop song before they pull in a sing-song verse with layered instrumentation and a strong ballad-feel that then switches back to speak-sing. The titular song is also an example of where the new Pixies differs. The song uses the up-and-down tempo shift instead of turning things over to Deal for melodic base, as they did on previous efforts. The less prominent mix of the bass and the fact the Black handles most all of the vocals on Indie Cindy gives it a bit less charm and makes it more the Frank Black show—something that the world has already had over the past 20 years. That’s an overstatement, though, as the music is more fleshed out, varied, and an emotional roller coaster ride as compared with his solo efforts. Think of a midway point between solo Frank Black and the original Pixies output. The inclusion of Jeremy Dubs’ backing vocals in “Bagboy” reminds of Deal’s absence even more.
Will Indie Cindy make everybody happy? Of course not. Most people probably had their minds made up before it was even recorded.
It accomplishes more than most reunion records in that it sounds like a continuation of a band rather than some old fogies pulling their stage costumes out of storage. I expected this to be terrible, but it’s really quite solid even if it doesn’t spin the earth back to the early ‘90s.
7.0 / 10
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