Pixies - Head Carrier
I get an electrifying feeling every time I listen to this album, and I’ve had Head Carrier in my possession for a little over two weeks now thanks to the Pixies’ publicist (with great thanks). Forget the past, and stop trying to compare the old to the new. Indie Cindy marked the great return of the Pixies, and Head Carrier alleviates some of the pressure to be as radio-friendly as its previous album.
But when I’ve talked to folks about the Pixies return in the past few years, they’ve always jeered that they don’t sound like their old eclectic selves. I don’t think that’s entirely a bad thing. Would you sound the same 20 years later? No. No, you wouldn’t. Nor would you want to. Growth is important, and Black Francis and co. have had 20 years of it. We’ve all grown up, and that’s not the worst thing.
The songs here don’t sound weathered. They don’t sound tired. They don’t sound like people 20 years bored. Take away past conflicts and unrealistic expectations for things to be the same, and you’ve got a cool record with people who want to make cool music. The songs create an energy that propels the listener forward, and it’s easy to do multiple repeats.
If I had to pick one song I want to hear over and over and over again, it’s gotta be “Oona”. I want to hear this on the radio, full blast. “All I Think About Now” gives me an eerie chill as it begins with a similar riff to the all-time classic “Where Is My Mind?”. And then there’s “Um Chagga Lagga”, another favourite of mine, and one I hope will continue to be apart of the Pixies’ best of for years to come. Paz Lenchantin comes in strong with the bass, and I’d like to hear her more utilized with vocals in future records, but she shines on vocals with “All I Think About Now” and “Bel Esprit”.
To me, Head Carrier is better than Indie Cindy. The band has stretched out those atrophied muscles, and they’re getting into their element to make cool and catchy tunes. Tom Dalgety knows how to produce an album, and the band knows how to make a good song. Let go of the urge to compare and expect Surfa Rosa and Bossanova 2.0. Those are classics, and they’ll be played for years to come. Head Carrier will become a classic in its own way, and only time will tell how it will all play out.
Give it a listen. Or many listens. There’s good music here, don’t pass on that. Everyone will thank you.
MAAF Box Listening Pleasure: Head Carrier, Classic Masher, Oona, Tenement Song, All I Think About Now, Um Chagga Lagga MAAF Box Rating: ****