September 26, 2022 Pixies – Doggerel (Album Review)
The influence of Pixies on many other artists in the Alternative Rock sphere can never be underestimated. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, The Strokes, and Modest Mouse are only some on the list of those that acknowledged the impact of the Pixies on the entire Rock scene itself. Formed in 1986, in Boston, Massachusetts, Pixies released four studio albums during their heyday – from 1988’s Surfer Rosa to 1991’s Trompe Le Monde. Reforming in 2004, they released three more – from 2014’s Indie Cindy to 2019’s Beneath the Eyrie.
Now, three years later, Pixies – currently consisting of original members Black Francis (lead vocals, rhythm/acoustic guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar, backing vocals), and David Lovering (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and Paz Lenchantin (bass, violin, vocals) – are set to unleash their latest full-length effort. Coming out on September 30, 2022, via BMG Records, Pixies’ new record, Doggerel, is a departure from the punky Pixies of old. The 12-track set is a foray onto more expansive, introspective, and ornate sonic expressions.
Doggerel starts with the straightforward, four-on-the-floor rockin’ stomper “Nomatterday,” which exudes faint echoes of “I’m an Adult Now” by The Pursuit of Happiness and “Heart-Shaped Box” by Nirvana. Following next is the less grungey, desert-dry trek of “Vault of Heaven.” Then returning the listener to the band’s gigantic days is the slow-fast-slow trick of “Dregs of the Wine.” And then there is the melodic, sour patch fuzz of “Haunted House,” featuring Pixies’ trademark guitar-bass call-and-response and male-female vocal interplay.
A slight slowing of pace, yet still edgy and catchy, “Get Simulated” further displays Pixies’ dabbling with a more textured and layered approach to music making. “Lord Has Come Back Today,” on the other hand, may be regarded as an album highlight–memorable, oozing with melodies, and more progressive than usual. “Thunder and Lightning” then plays next–initially ominous and eerie then building up into something poignant and nostalgic.
Pixies then launches into the psychedelically dark “There’s a Moon On”–another single off Doggerel. The Heartland Rock vibe then continues with “Pagan Man”–blowing whiffs of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold,” America’s “A Horse with No Name,” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Brilliant Disguise.” The ensuing “Who’s More Sorry Now?” then simply picks up on the previous track’s stylistic direction. After the back-to-original-form “You’re Such a Sadducee,” Francis, Santiago, Lovering, and Lenchantin finally end their well-woven new offering with its trippy, subtly funky title-track.
The band that started a stylistic revolution thirty years ago may no longer be as confrontational and frenetic as how they used to be, but their evolved music remains as influential, innovative, and interesting; if not lyrically substantial and more relevant and musically more harmonious. As mentioned, Pixies has been back for a while now; three relatively new albums on the members’ dusted-off sleeves and the fresh, brand-new one forthcoming. Where is your mind? What are you waiting for? The time to dig again at Pixies’ fire has come. Loosely styled and irregular in rhythm for comic relief it is certainly not–Doggerel. That is why Cryptic Rock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.