In 2018 Pixies celebrated the 30th anniversary of ‘Come On Pilgrim’ and ‘Surfer Rosa’ - two records that cemented their place in indie rock history. It seems that much of the raw sound and bite of those two influential releases has been channeled once again for ‘Beneath The Eyrie’ - the band’s best album since reforming in 2004.
Joey Santiago’s licks on ‘This Is My Fate’ hark back to 1987 classic ‘Nimrod’s Son’, Paz Lenchantin does her best Kim Deal on slow-burning ballad ‘Los Surfers Muertos’, and scuzzed up blues number ‘St. Nazaire’ finds Black Francis rolling back the years with some blood-curdling screeches. And then there’s ’Graveyard Hill’, a bone-crunching blockbuster that genuinely wouldn’t feel out of place next to the some of the band’s best singles.
There’s an enduring concept across these 12 tracks that makes it much more than another late career cash-in. ‘Beneath the Eyrie’ could just as easily be called ‘Pixies go West’, so crammed it is with acoustic desert-rock, cactus-flavoured guitar riffs and stories about silver bullets, birds of prey and American folk legends. And while it occasionally feels lacking in the kind of explosive energy that made the band such an impact in the late ‘80s, it still captures the spirit of Pixies in a way that’s extremely satisfying.
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Black Francis’ signature scream is there with all its menacing majesty intact.
Across a long and rich career, Pixies have built a canon of strange and singular work. On ‘Beneath The Eyrie’ they’re finally inviting people into their world, but don’t think it’s going to come easy.
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