Pixies attempt to innovate with new album

Leo Friedman

“Beneath the Eyrie,” Pixies’ third album since their reunion in 2004, delivers some flashes of classic Pixies sound, as well as some songs that feel off the mark. The Boston-based alternative band released their new album on Sept. 13.

The 12 track album makes many references to the spirit world and biblical concepts that fit in with the band’s past lyrical themes, which were often dark and spiritual. Even as a contemporary album, some elements from their pre-reunion days can be heard, which is clearly an effect they were looking for. This worked on some tracks, but on others it seems like they should have tried something new.

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“In the Arms of Mrs. Mark of Cain,” the opening track, starts the album off on a good foot. With a catchy chorus and emphatic bassline that the Pixies are known for, this track is a great song to open an album with. Biblical themes and witty wordplay make up the majority of this sad-happy song.

The following track, “On Graveyard Hill,” unfortunately fails to live up to the hype of the first track. It has a very repetitive guitar riff that peppered the track, and it seemed to rely too much on Pixies’ old sound without adding any new flair.

The Pixies paint an interesting story about a catfish mud-wrestler on “Catfish Kate.” With a slower tempo and softer sound, this track is a nice change of pace from the previous two harder ones. Pixies front-man Black Francis’ songwriting abilities are clear on this one.

“This is My Fate,” which you are reminded of several times in the song’s lyrics, is a repetitive song filled with morbid biblical references. A few of the songs on the album are quite unforgettable, and this is one of them. 

“Beneath the Eyrie” is available to stream on Apple Music and Spotify.

Country music? You wouldn’t expect it on this album, and yet you could hear it in “Bird of Prey.” This song is truly great. It’s got an awesome mix of acoustic and electric guitars, with a tap-your-feet kind of drumbeat. The vocals on the track could almost be compared to Johnny Cash’s, and the song ends with a proper guitar solo.

Francis sings “cause that death horizon gonna burn you right through” on the last track, “Death Horizon.” This feels like a fitting end to the album. While the title fits in again with the dark theme, the song sounds like a classic Pixies radio-banger from the late 1980s. It has a characteristic twangy guitar sound and great background singing. This song was a standout for sure.

While “Beneath the Eyrie” delivers some good tracks, it doesn’t feel cohesive or innovative. Clearly, the Pixies are trying to continue their pre-reunion style, and some of the songs just feel tired. Some of the songs really did work, however, capitalizing on old sounds with introspective lyrics that were reminiscent of old Pixies sound.

  • Rating: 6.5/10
  • Best Songs: “In the Arms of Mrs. Mark of Cain,” “Catfish Kate,” “St. Nazaire,” “Death Horizon.”
  • Worst songs: “On Graveyard Hill,” “This is my Fate,” “Daniel Boone.”

Leo Friedman can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @leofriedman13.