The Pixies - Beneath the Eyrie

by Zane Ewton

Bless the weird, dark and wonderful Pixies. Thirty years since Surfer Rosa and Doolittle launched a thousand alt-rock ships into the night, a band that has dealt with more than its fair share of drama - self-inflicted or otherwise - returns with an album about death, freaks and fairy tales, black arts and even romance.

It's heavy stuff for sure, but feels filtered through the easygoing breeze of a surf rock band in a spaghetti western.

One of the catchiest songs on the record is about a woman who kills a monster catfish and emerges from the water, dripping blood and wearing the skin of the catfish.

Typical Pixie stuff. Which is to say Beneath the Eyrie is The Pixies returning to much of what makes The Pixies so great, even if the edges are polished considerably more than the Steve Albini days.

It's ridiculous to compare The Pixies today to the band of 1988, if for nothing than 30 years of consistent professional songwriting work and lives lived through the stages of band breakups, reunions, divorces, stints in rehab, solo careers.

Fortunately, the band members, Black Francis, Joey Santiago, Paz Lenchantin and Dave Lovering, seem to be in a good space, and the songs seem the better for it. The Pixies sound comfortable in who they are and the range of interests they bring to the work.

Might be difficult to imagine a band with songs as varied as The Pixies could do something surprising, but a song like "Daniel Boone" feels like if Francis wanted to take a stab at writing a power ballad. Not gonna lie, it would sound great in an arena or a junior high school dance. And that's not a bad thing.

There is not a single stinker on this record, with most tracks likely to fit nicely within the next tour's setlist. First single, "Graveyard Hill" already made the rounds on the recent tour with Weezer in between "Isla de Encanta" and "Caribou," and it works.

Another new song revealed on the recent tour, album closer "Death Horizon" is a beach campfire singalong at the end of the world. It's tough to imagine a band better suited to sing us into the apocalypse.

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The Pixies - Beneath the Eyrie

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