The Pixies have somehow made one of the most boring records to date. It’s disappointing that one of the most influential and pioneering grunge bands have produced a painfully middle-of-the-road muddy sludge-fest. This would be a perfectly satisfactory contribution from a debut act, or someone without any provenance, but in the context of ‘Surfer Rosa’ and ‘Doolittle’, all you can do is lament and cry ‘Why Francis Black, why?’. It appears that an identity crisis is in full swing for the Pixies and hopefully they’ll recognize it and fix it. It seems they’re not sure if they are a grown-up mature rock-band or the brash, playful art-rockers they once were. Nonetheless, the record does have a couple of OK tracks: ‘Silver Bullet’ has a pleasant guitar part to it, particularly the chorus. It clearly is going for a twangy 60’s Western sound, but it doesn’t really do it right. ‘St Nazaire’ is a bit fun, but the production is too good. Any energy that could be there is immediately sucked out of it. ‘This Is My Fate’ is probably the most traditionally Pixies track on the album. While exuding goofiness, it isn’t all that good, and it needs more cowbell. 

Clocking in at a brief 38 minutes, it’s quite noticeably short. Despite the brevity, you can’t remember or distinguish from one song to the other. The melodies are not that inspired, they just exist and go straight through you. It’s not the fuzz fest that ‘Head Carrier’ was either and if you didn’t know what the singles were, you’d have a hard-time picking them out. Not because they’re all single material, but because none of them are. It really is quite sad that the Pixies have stripped themselves of brilliance, but hopefully another studio album will pick-up the baton before it sits on the ground for too long.

2/5