Hold on to your horses because Boston’s greatest exports are back: a brand new Pixies album is out now! Beneath the Eyrie not only marks the band’s third studio album since 1991’s Trompe le Monde, but it also sees them rust-free and ready to dazzle audiences with their patented brand of noise pop. Beneath the Eyrie is no Doolittle but it is very important in its own way because it disregards modern music, and with panache rips through the fabric of today to reveal a world forgotten.
“In the Arms of Mrs. Mark of Cain,” the album’s opener sounds exactly how one would expect from the title: the song is a high-stakes and grandiose display of the group’s often volatile guitars and sonorous vocal refrains. It should be noted that bassist Paz Lenchantin makes her presence known early, in just her second album with the group, as she sings remarkable backing vocals that layer the choruses of the opening track gorgeously. Lenchantin’s overdriven bassline ensnares the listener as it opens the record’s second track “On Graveyard Hill.” Locked-in with veteran drummer David Lovering’s pulsing rhythms, the chemistry is evident.
The second track reveals to the listener a group of individuals enjoying one another, the music they create and the dynamic directions they dare to take. The contrast between the somewhat ominous “This Is My Fate” and the upbeat “Ready for Love” is precisely the type of twist-and-turn formula the unpredictable group enjoys to dish out. “Silver Bullet” is an epic tale told with contained fury, accented by a snappy snare, a deep bass, and a slithering electric guitar riff. Black Francis, the group’s iconic singer and rhythm guitarist, holds nothing back and seems genuinely filled with energy, prepared to unleash at any minute his entire vocal strength.
“Long Rider” is signature Pixies: a concoction of grunge elements and ’80s pop and post-punk influences that thrill. The group has always been stuck somewhere between The Smiths and Nirvana and is now taking the best elements of each and slapping them onto the face of today’s electro-tune-ruled world. The band experiments with Western-sounding tracks like “Bird of Prey” and culminates the record with an alt-folk track titled “Death Horizon.” Much of the diversity in sound comes from the various riffs of lead guitarist Joey Santiago, he easily manipulates his strings to evoke various time periods. From start to finish you never know what you are going to get and that is how a record should be: unpredictable.
The Pixies warp today’s reality by making you forget you are listening to a record released in 2019. If you close your eyes for a moment, you may imagine you have escaped to a world where computer algorithms and auto-tune machines never produced a hit single. Much like their contemporaries The Flaming Lips, Pixies are a group uncompromising in their sound, a band that has threaded an alternate path in history: a true alternative band.