Hank Black

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Pixies got a new album out tomorrow. Its arrival inspires a mountain of words to pretty small ends don’t you think? What do you want, ‘Surfer Rosa’? Even ‘Doolittle’ wasn’t ‘Surfer Rosa’ friends. Dear God but I loved Pixies. ‘Head Carrier’ is a pretty good album as it goes, strong melodies and hooks galore, plenty to remind you of the old records without just rewriting them, the ‘Where Is My Mind?’ nod that opens ‘All I Think About Now’ is merely the most obvious. Still, it’s a full quarter of a century since ‘Trompe Le Monde’ came out and while I grew to love it (the unrelenting pace of it, it’s nonsense, it’s ferocity) at the time critics and fans alike thought it was the least of their endeavours and maybe they did too because soon, dragged through the ignominy of U2 support slots in a vain attempt to break their home country, they were gone. Almost any criticism you might make of the new record would apply just as well to that one so, you know, it’s no disgrace here. It’s no towering acheivement either, it’s another Pixies record. Which, on balance, is a good thing. Is ‘Um Chagga Lagga’ nonsense? What the hell was ‘Tony’s Theme’? ‘Talent’ is pretty damned annoying/catchy but ‘Classic Masher’ is just straight up great. It’s better than ‘Here Comes Your Man’ for one, that song always irked me. If this was a Frank Black album less then half as many people would care but they’d all be going crazy about how good it was. So they aren’t as young and fiery as they once were, who is? If Joey hadn’t just gone into rehab I’d say it was just as well for their mental health that they aren’t the people they were back then. There’s age and melancholy and wisdom in Charles’ voice that wasn’t and, despite valiant efforts, no he can’t really scream like he’s possessed anymore. So it goes.

 

 

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