It may be hard to believe, but the re-unified Pixies have now been recording music in their second spell for as long as they did in their heyday. From 1988’s ‘Surfer Rosa’ onwards, four albums in as many years changed the alternative rock musical landscape for good before their seemingly-final implosion in 1993. After mixed reviews (at best) to two albums since returning to the studio in 2014, ‘Beneath The Eyrie’ sees the Boston band attempting once more to regain those former glories. Sadly, it is another hit-and-miss affair.
With the unmistakeable quirky sense of humour at play in the lyrics, Frank Black’s increasingly gravelly vocals and that famous quiet-loud template in full effect, in many ways this is a quintessential Pixies album. But whereas in their prime they would body-slam with a fierce intensity, nowadays the punches are pulled, resulting in a flat and uninspiring listen at times. Occasionally playing it too safe, much here is almost ‘Pixies-by-the-numbers’, the singles adhering too closely to the tried-and-tested formula, only minus that tiny but vital spark of inspiration.
‘Graveyard Hill’ and ‘Long Rider’ do scale the heights, soaring where much else here flounders. But it is the likes of the dreamily gorgeous ‘Daniel Boone’ and the slow-burning ‘Silver Bullet’ that prove that there is still space and time for this new line-up to evolve into something that isn’t purely catering for fans from thirty years ago.