It is 1986 and there is something brewing in the Boston area. From their parent’s garage to their local stage, a quartet under the name of Pixies is making headway. Recognised for their surf-punk-pop sound, their face melting guitar tones and satisfyingly chaotic choruses, the group are hard to fault and steadfastly headed for fame.
Jump forward to 1992 and there’s a lot to reflect on. Black Francis, Joey Santiago, Kim Deal and David Lovering did it all. Four albums and an EP in their original formation, Pixies served as a guide for many iconic rock bands to come. They were unexpected and undeniably impressive.
In 2016, Head Carrier is the second full length, post-reunion release from Pixies with new bassist Paz Lenchantin. While the chaotic backbone of the band’s sound is very much apparent, it seems that through the extra allotted preparation time, Pixies have produced their most thoughtful release to date.
After a career comprised of an album per year and an insane touring schedule, the band certainly took advantage of their additional pre-production, writing, arranging and rehearsing time. The result? A record that oozes confidence, clarity and concentration.
The 12-track collection comes as a surreal blend of psychedelica, dissonance and of course, surf rock techniques. Produced by Tom Dalgety, the album was recorded at London’s Rak Studios and features original artwork by the band’s longtime art director, Vaughan Oliver.
Pixies title track opens the album, exploding with riffled guitar riffs and grunge glimpses glistening throughout, the quality of the songwriting sees a seamless forging of genres. The modern take of the traditional Pixie sound is both easy-listening and curiously complex.
Thirty years on from formation, a couple of line-up changes and a longer album lead time than ever, Pixies are back with conviction and confidence.