Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Pixies - Hey Pixies (Emusic, 2005)

The Pixies reunion in 2004 surprised quite a few people who never expected to see the legendary indie rock band on stage together again. But surprise surprise, there they were, playing festivals and clubs around the world to great acclaim. Emusic, the music download service that caters to the indie set, set up an exclusive agreement to present a two CD compilation of songs from the tour for their members. And it's quite a coup for them too, as The Pixies still pack the punch that launched indie and college rock as a valid force in the music world in the late 1980's.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and while there is a certain amount of nostalgia involved (for me an eerie deja vu feeling, it's strange listening to The Pixies and not be in a college dorm room) the old songs are delivered with a great deal of panache and enthusiasm. Two versions of their classic song "Wave of Mutilation" show how much the band has grown musically in the intervening years. The first is a standard electric version recorded live in the U.K., but the second version is slowed to an almost narcotic pace and picked out on acoustic guitars, which gives the music a haunted, psychedelic feel. Make no mistake though, the band still rocks like a demon especially on "Nimrod's Son" where Frank Black spits out the caustic lyrics like the Black Francis of yore.

All the old Pixies favorites are here, like "Gouge Away" and the sing-a-long favorite "Ed Is Dead." The music was recorded professionally, so it definitely has a leg up on the many bootlegs that are floating around the Internet. Longtime Pixies fans and newer indie rock enthusiasts who are curious to see what the fuss is about will be greatly pleased with the music presented here. Hopefully this will set the stage for a new album made up of all-new material in 2006. Even 10 years after their original breakup, The Pixies prove that they are still one of the most vital bands on the rock and roll scene.

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