I didn’t become a fan of the Pixies until much later in my life and for the longest time I was merely a casual observer of the genius that this band possess. In 2010 through to 2011 I threw myself deep into each of their previous albums and became addicted to their unique pop music dialogue and I of course in the process started to understand the extreme influence this band had over the 1990’s version of indie guitar rock music. I graduated to fanatic status in 2013 when the band released EP1 with the EPs lead track “Indie Cindy” totally blowing my mind apart. I was also secretly happy at how much dissatisfaction it caused those purist assholes who typically boycotted it. What this new material represented was a band with age and wisdom on their side with the end results being a delicious mix of healthy nostalgia and evolution. To have the band finally release EP1, EP2 and EP3 as one full length album – titled “Indie Cindy” – was the real reward for my “later in life” fan experience.
The negative flipside to all this is the sentimentality people had for the Pixies and their previous albums. This was bound to ruin the experience of “Indie Cindy” for so many and for a while I almost avoided reviewing the album because I couldn’t handle fielding the bummer energy of those people who are eternally miserable and suffering a yearning for their youth. I much prefer the musicians / artists I admire to grow up and make music relevant to their own current emotional intelligence. I’m extremely comfortable saying that “Indie Cindy” is a worthy entry into the Pixies musical legacy. I am also confident that my credibility will be questioned considering I’ve only been a fan of the band for the past four years of my life.
The logistics of legacy aside, this is a fantastic pop album which shows how important Frank Black is as a songwriter. He’s now gone beyond just being an underground indie hero with it becoming quite clear that he’s entering a beautiful era with this new Pixies material that will position him among the great pop song manipulators. The way he can push a song from psychedelic to brash intense punk to bubble-gum pop in the course of one song has always been impressive but on “Indie Cindy” there is more muscle behind it, giving a stronger almost stadium ready vibe to a lot of this material. The real winner on “Indie Cindy” is the delightful movement from the heartfelt swoon of “Andro Queen” into the infectious gallop of “Snakes” – a perfect example of Black’s brilliance and my favourite set of songs on the record.
On “Indie Cindy” The Pixies are releasing music for music’s sake and that joy beams off of each track. Whether they lose or gain fans is irrelevant because they have already done so much to infect the DNA of independent rock music and shape it for the better. I have to be honest and say that when I’m in the mood for Pixies music these days I put on this record because it gives so much more than the previous discography and picks up where the band left us. The songs on “Indie Cindy” are new classics waiting to happen and with hindsight I truly believe that humans will salute the brilliance of this album. I cannot fault it personally and even with the Kim Deal sized hole in some sections it never becomes boring or lacking. Having Kim’s influence on some of this music would have indeed taken it beyond the stratosphere but at the same time the songs do not suffer as a result and I personally yearn for what Kim does with The Breeders moving forward.
In 2014 it is nice to have one of the innovators of guitar rock return with something fresh, exciting and futuristic that serves the legacy and gives us a glimpse at what is to come.
By: Dan Newton