Album review: Pixies’ “Indie Cindy”

Pixies release their first “new” album in 23 years — it isn’t worth the wait.

The Pixies

PIAS Recordings

The Pixies “Indie Cindy” is a hodge-podge that can only leave listeners wondering what could have been.

Spencer Doar

“Indie Cindy” strings together the new music from the Pixies’ three EPs released in 2013 and early 2014, ingeniously titled “EP1,” “EP2” and “EP3.”

Those names are indicative of the creative lull the group’s music has taken.  Don’t be mistaken, “Indie Cindy” is an entertaining ride through musical history, but it is also derivative and due to be forever compared with the likes of 1989’s “Doolittle” or even 1991’s “Trompe le Monde.”

An album is set to receive less than laudatory reviews when it falls into such problematic terrain.  Any rock fan worth their salt — regardless of their personal Pixies allegiance — has a definitive idea of the group carved into their mind.  All Pixies material after George H. Bush’s tenure as president is the little brother to their early canon, doomed to live in the shadow of nostalgia. 

Moreover, it’s impossible to parse out influences when a group has such a stop-and-go recording history, making it easy to tear apart the album’s originality. 

“Indie Cindy’s” first title, “What Goes Boom,” sounds exactly like a Smashing Pumpkins’ forgotten B-side, and it’s just as easy to think that it could have been the forgotten B-side of a Pixies album that Billy Corgan took as inspiration down the road. 

“Bagboy” has the same myriad connections — Rage Against the Machine vocals with Beastie Boys sentiment as Beck’s instrumentation looks on. 

“Blue Eyed Hexe” could be a bad AC/DC cover. 

“Ring the Bell” has the soul of Weezer performing while hung over.   

All this material destined for European charts echoes various other groups. 

If there’s one defining characteristic of this hodgepodge album it’s that of a midlife identity crisis.  All that’s missing is a little red Corvette. 

The only real fun stems from the album’s titular track.  It’s a nearly five minute love affair with two very different song structures.  The first is a crooned ode. The second is spoken punk lyrics over growling guitar — ready-made for an all-night road trip to Vegas.

But the fact remains that the Pixies have the balls to call it a “new” album.  Sure, it’s new packaging for 12 tracks, but it’s already available music from their aforementioned EPs.  Big whoop. 

“Indie Cindy” is the email reminder from University of Minnesota faculty that painfully reminds you of the obvious. 

2 out of 4 stars