Pixies - Head Carrier

by James Weiskittel Rating:4 Release Date:2016-09-30

It's never easy to simply pick up where you left off, especially when it comes to matters of the heart and almost anything ‘art’.  And for most fans, the Pixies second album/quasi-masterpiece Doolittle is one of those perfect forms of expression, summing up the collective thoughts, desires, and frustrations of millions of Reagan-era youth; an album from which so many others are measured.

And while the post-Pixies musical output has yielded some underappreciated gems over the years (that self-titled Breeders album is fantastic and Black has a handful of must-listen solo records as well), it was in their absence that the Pixies legend and status as cult icons really began to take hold.

While the band spent much of the early 2000’s flirting with the idea of reuniting via a slew of one-off rehearsals and performances, old tensions continued to resurface between Kim Deal and the rest of the band (Black Francis, David Lovering and Joey Santiago).  By the time the Pixies officially reunited in 2013 for a series of EP’s (and ultimately the full-length Indie Cindy), Deal had already left the fold.  While the Pixies are and always have been a vehicle for Black’s songs, the true weight of Deal’s influence on the band couldn’t be fully appreciated until she was finally removed, as Indie Cindy felt like a Pixies release in name only, and played very much like an amped up Frank Black solo record.

And so that brings us to round two where the Pixies have returned with Head Carrier, an album that finds the band still searching for an identity that balances their storied past, and the two-decades of time in-between.  While it would be easy to dismiss Head Carrier as simply another Deal-less album, the fact remains that the band’s output both with and without her is almost equal at this point.  The bottom line is that this band has no intention of going away, and where Indie Cindy fell flat for the most part, Head Carrier at least has a few bright spots.

The album opens strongly with the fuzzed-out title track (instantly recalling Mirror Ball-era Neil Young) before it settles into a more predictable mish-mash of upbeat numbers and pensive faux-ballads.  Where the album rocks (“Classic Masher”, “Oona”, and “Talent”) it does so competently, but other than the few previously mentioned bright spots, the album is a bit of a meandering mess that is in no way helped by its lazy production.  Honestly, as a Frank Black solo record Head Carrier would actually be a passable affair, but this does little to further the legacy established by the Pixies.

Head Carrier might be the Pixies latest release, but it’s clear that two album’s into version 2.0 the band is clearly a different beast.  While the band’s current members may finally be enjoying an era of calm and civility, their best output arguably occurred when tensions were at their highest.  Head Carrier is something new, something different and at times, even something exciting - it’s just not the Pixies.

Overall Rating (0)

0 out of 5 stars
Related Articles