Over the last few months I've built up quite a backlog of notes on various things I've been meaning to post in here. I've been debating with myself what the best way of disseminating this stuff, so I thought I'd take an informal poll. Do you folks prefer the longer diary entries of mine with lots of different topics all bundled together, or would you prefer shorter more frequent posts grouped more thematically? Granted, I find it somewhat fun trying to weave topic together, and sometimes it creates an overarching narrative, but these types of posts take much longer to put together and frankly I don't always have the time to devote to them.
Just some thought for food.
Yesterday I got my copy of indie rock icon Pixies' new album Indie Cindy. This is their first 'proper' album since, what, 1991? I guess they were inspired by My Bloody Valentine's comeback or something. Anyway, I'm really curious as to what Ardgedee thinks of this one, as he's sort of my late 80s / early 90s indie rock comrade in arms. Of course anyone else who wants to weigh in as well is welcome to it.
Doing a bit of Google-research, this LP is actually composed of two EPs and a single released over the last few months. For whatever reason I never paid any attention to those releases----they pretty much slipped by me unnoticed---so I had no idea what to expect from Indie Cindy. Would it be a triumphant return or, like so many comebacks, a big disappointment? So far I'm inclined to think it's the latter. However I'm not quite sure just how disappointing it is yet, and there are moments that are genuinely well honed on this thing. I get that the band has moved on over the last 25+ years since their heyday. Inevitably folks will scrutinize this album in light of the band's earlier works, and I think there's legitimacy in doing so, but by the same token a band isn't beholden to anyone and should embrace change if they so desire. If anything though, Indie Cindy is trapped in a sort of no man's land where the band has moved on but at the same time hasn't really grown much. I'm hearing echos of the late 80s but there's no soul, only the motions. In some ways Indie Cindy sounds more mature, sure, but unfortunately that maturity isn't all positive: more prevalent than any depth or refinement is a pervasive tiredness to this record. More often than not, it just comes across as dull and lacking any genuine spark.
"Greens and Blues" is perhaps my favorite on the album, the most immediately Pixies-ish in its sound to me. Other tracks like Magdalena 318, Andro Queen, and Jamie Bravo are really likable and have the right kind of energy behind them, light and drifty and enjoyable indie rock that doesn't need any grown up profundity. Opener "What Goes Boom" is more a rollicking aggro track, but it's still catchy and has nice guitar play. Then there's the stuff that works but isn't particularly memorable for me: Silver Snail, Ring the Bell, and Another Toe In the Ocean. Everything else just doesn't appeal to me much. The title track, "Indie Cindy," has a sort of Hold Steady thing going on, but it comes across as obnoxious and gives way to a lethargic chorus that falls pretty flat in my opinion. Blue Eyed Hexe meanwhile sound out of place, like Stephen Malkmus playing bad heavy blues rock with added cowbell. The worst track though, by far, is "Bag Boy." I'm not quite sure if it's trying to be ironic or what, but it certainly seems sincere. There's all sorts of cringe-worthy stuff going on here, from 80's rap percussion and b-boy backup vocals to the laughable interjections of "BAG BOY!" throughout. Just... no.
Overall, Indie Cindy has grown on me a bit from those first uncertain encounters. It's still a highly inconsistent album to me though, and it just seems devoid of inspiration, like a hodgepodge of new ideas, members' solo projects, and a somewhat shallow call back to earlier Pixies. In other words it fails to capture the spirit of their older work, while at the same time failing to move forward in any endearing capacity. It's an album that doesn't really seem to know what it wants, trying to be too many things and not really succeeding at any of them.
If anything, it makes me want to revisit Surfer Rosa. Now where is my mind?