Pixies – ‘Doggerel’

Dinosaur Jr., Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Pavement, Nirvana
Release Date
Alternative/Indie Rock

Is it possible that being saddled with an iconic back-catalogue can stifle creativity? Since reforming (and bringing in Paz Lenchantin to replace Kim Deal on bass and additional vocals) the albums they have released have been perfectly ok, but nothing life changing. Only a handful of songs from them have made themselves a fixture in the band’s performance sets, though “St. Nazaire” has rapidly become a fan favourite crowd pleaser. Now on their eighth studio album, (the fourth of the “Modern Era”), can they revitalise the magic they can and have created?

For those who may be unfamiliar with Pixies, Kurt Cobain described Nirvana as “A Pixies Fanband”. They really did catch imaginations that forcefully, with dark, angular Alternative Rock with meaningful and uncomfortable lyrics and inventive sonic excursions.

“Doggerel” finds today’s Pixies deliberately not making the Pixies album you might have been expecting. No, they’ve not gone mad and suddenly released an album of Darkwave Eco-ballads; what they appear to have done is take all the ingredients they possess and assembled them in a different order. Same eggs, but now a souffle, not sunny side up.

“Doggerel” is Pixies replete with a suave confidence, a mature evolution to what some would describe as “classic” song writing, with nods to the likes of Nick Cave and Teenage Fanclub, the band have faith to leave so much more of each song to live or die on its own merit. It’s a simple but effective way to allow a measure of reinvention without casting aside the sound the fans know and love. Most of the songs on “Doggerel” sound intentionally made for playing live; yes, the production and mixing is impeccable, but it never adds anything that isn’t already captured in the writing and playing. “Dregs of the Wine” for instance; that is a KILLER chorus.

It’s easy to consider this the high-water mark of the “new” Pixies.

"New Pixies/Old Pixies? Who cares? it’s just Pixies doing some great songs"

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