The Pixies - Doggerel

by Zane Ewton

The Pixies are the most compelling Christian rock band that will never get an invite to the Sunday worship service. The Pixies are a Beach Boys tribute band trapped in a horror movie. The Pixies are a road trip in perpetual night. The Pixies followed Major Tom into outer space and never bothered to ring up Ground Control.

I could keep going but I'll stop by saying Doggerel is everything you expect from a Pixies record - an "alt-rock" band that knows how to craft songs. Despite a lushness earned over the years, the Pixies still sneer, creep and shout.

"It has the swagger of a snake, with arms," says Black Francis at the end of "Dregs of the Wine" - a song that name checks Van Halen while remembering a time he and Joe Santiago moved to Los Angeles.

The swagger of a snake with arms is a line you can imagine David Lee Roth shouting on MTV while high kicking. As you can imagine without even hearing it, Black Francis's delivery of that line is a different kind of lecherous.

There's a lived-in quality to Doggerel. A loose-fit Pixies, in contrast to the tight goth pants of their previous record, Beneath the Eyrie.

This time around it feels like they're staring at the sky, around the campfire, searching for God or aliens or anything else we have complicated relationships with.

Much of the religious imagery begins right with the song titles: "Vault of Heaven," "Pagan Man" and "You're Such a Sadduccee." Right in the center of the album is "The Lord Has Come Back Today."

But you can always count on The Pixies and Francis, in particular, to take a specific religious image and run off into a surprising new direction. As the primary songwriter, he's delivered a handful of songs here that would be smart and arresting if it were just his voice and guitar.

The magic elixir as always is the rest of the band dropping in with colors and surprises.

Santiago is the great under celebrated guitar hero of rock and roll. David Lovering is unflappably rock steady. And Paz Lenchantin continues to be a breath of fresh air.

It's silly to belabor the point - The Pixies are an excellent band and deliver each time out. Doggerel is another win from top to bottom.

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