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REVIEW: Pixies - Head Carrier

REVIEW: Pixies - Head Carrier

By: Jessica Gonzalez
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A review of the Pixies album Head Carrier.

 

The Pixies’ latest release, at once an homage to the golden era of “Where is My Mind” goodness and a salute to their unwavering alternative-grunge flare, will not disappoint. Head Carrier further establishes this important American band’s place in everlasting rock glory. Each track packs a punch, expertly crafted with the mangle of long-time frontman Black Francis’ earnest yet casually crashing vocals, guitarist Joey Santiago’s powerful riffs, Kim Deal’s driving bass, and drummer David Lovering’s energy, lending a distinguished, relentless pulse to each Pixies song. Tracks like the album’s eponymous “Head Carrier” may remind long-time fans of what made them fall in love with the band in the first place -- together, they bring clever lyrics, unapologetic riffs, and demanding drums to be felt in the chest, and in the heart. “You can’t be too chill / you can’t be too Zen,” Francis warns, his vocals not exactly loud, but absolutely clear. The song is fun yet empowering, and curiously productive.


“Classic Masher” follows with the band’s usual punchiness, and is then resolved by “Baal’s Back” featuring a yelling Francis and fiery riffs. Head Carrier continues to move like some monstrous wave: it at first offers comfort through nostalgic sludge, but then quickly spits out any notion of predictability into the current. “Might As Well Be Gone” features a grabbing riff at the beginning, followed by Francis’ comparably defeated, heartrendingly flat vocals. Uncut emotion spills out of each cadence.

 

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“Tenement Song” is undoubtedly catchy, and possibly single-material. “Hey man, something came from somewhere. / Hey man, it’s a tenement song” Francis sings, guitar ringing out alongside him like a forlorn companion. The riff belting out like a siren in the following track, “Bel Esprit”, recalls their early ‘90s material and powerfully reinforces the song’s haziness. But the vocals here provide reassuring authority.


“All the Saints” closes the album thoughtfully; the beginning riffs and hint of a female voice present a question mark that ultimately breaks into a sullen walk-down-the-block of a song. More interest is added with a quirky rhythm and a quietly wailing guitar. “All the saints that I love / some below, some above, / from this world, they were torn, / from their seed, I was born” Francis begins. The song quietly throbs and is the perfect, felt ending to another solid Pixies album. As fans new and old of the band will be left picking up the pieces, Heart Carrier expertly manages to be cathartic and calamitous. Adding to the band’s already impressive discography,  I can see this being an album that endures.

 

Pixies - Head Carrier


Listen to a song by clicking on a title below:

Click to Play Pixies - “Tenement Song”

Click to Play Pixies - “Talent

Click to Play Pixies - “Um Chagga Lagga”

 
 
 
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