REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha
THE PIXIES KICK 2014 OFF IN TRUE ROCK STYLE WITH THEIR LATEST EP
Alternative rock pioneers and all round legends of cool the Pixies follow up last year’s EP1 with EP2.
The Pixies - EP 2 8/10
Out NowCertain people of a certain age have a special connection with the Pixies that can’t really be explained with words, beloved and enigmatic, influential and proudly difficult to categorize, the Pixies made a triumphant return in 2004 following an eleven-year hiatus. Anyone lucky enough (I was there were you?) to catch any of these reunion gigs was in raptures, this reunion continued for seven years. But throughout this reunion there were no new songs, when out of the blue they released the imaginatively titled EP 1 last year to coincide with a mammoth UK tour the question everyone was whispering was “is it any good?” Reassuringly it was, perhaps why was the attitude of the Pixies themselves, fully aware their fans wouldn’t stand for anything mediocre or money for old rope. As Black Francis explains “There was some fear and trepidation because we were hoping to do that recording session with the original foursome of the band (original bassist and the all round awesome Kim Deal). Suddenly that was not going to be the case and it was pretty devastating. But we came back and met and everyone believed in the music. We would rather forge ahead and see what this turns into rather than just retiring the whole thing.” This kind of passion and understanding of the bands place in history has meant that this new music is a really exciting thing for any Pixies fan. Back to EP 2, the first track
Blue Eyed Hexe, has that angry, a bit awkward to the ears, trademark Pixies credentials, the instant pop hook juxtaposed with Francis’ slightly uncomfortable howlings, a little AC/DC in its classic rock styling’s it is classic Pixies. Talking about this track Francis explained, “It’s a tale from the northwestern part of the UK, and it’s a witch-woman kind of a song. That’s what a ‘hexe’ is, and ours is a blue-eyed hexe.” Guitarist Joey Santiago added, “Gil wanted a swagger, he wanted the guitar solo to sound like you’re going to have sex with this blue-eyed hexe.” Indeed, it’s a noisy affair and could been seen as a sister track to say maybe
Bag Boy that came out in 2013, bursting with fun and swagger.
Magdalena, with its QOTSA/stoner rock fuzzy guitars is a different song all together, drummer David Lovering described it as, “One of my favourites. It’s cool the way it flows, and it’s a very simplistic song, very pretty, cool and moving.” The song sounds like water, it flows and ebbs away, it’s very subtle, vocally it has Francis singing instead of shouting.
Greens and Blues, a track that Francis compares to
Gigantic, “As with all my songs, I would prefer people add their own interpretation to it. It was my attempt to come up with another song that would – musically, emotionally and psychologically – sit in the same place that ‘Gigantic’ has sat. Not that I could ever replace that song: you write songs and they come out the way they come out. So perhaps it can be said that this song fills the emotional niche that ‘Gigantic’ occupied, another show-closer. I think the lyric alludes to that, the fact that it’s the end of the night, the end of something”. With lyrics like “
If I seem a little strange, would you excuse me please” the song is open to all kinds of interpretation, while of course it could never, ever replace
Gigantic it is still pretty good. This and
Magdalena are the highlights, where they eschew the trademark heaviness and try out different sounds or ideas, it shows a band still in love with what they do and prepared to take risks.
Snakes is probably the weakest track – as the other songs are of such a high standard there will inevitably be some moments that lack the punch or excitement of the initial songs. Overall EP2 is less in your face shouting, HEY WE’RE BACK AND WE SOUND AWESOME, its more of a reassurance that EP1 wasn’t a fluke, its HEY, we’re back and yeah we’re still writing really great songs. They are touring extensively throughout 2014 including a headline slot at Field Day, you’d be a fool to miss out.