After two painfully mediocre albums since their 2004 reunion, expectations for Pixies’ 2019 record were exceptionally low. The days of “Where Is My Mind?” genius seemed to be long gone and why the band was bothering creating new music at all was a mystery.
Beneath The Eyrie is no masterpiece by any means but it does exceed our expectations. It is easily the band’s best record since their reunion and shows promise that the Pixies may just have musical spark left in them yet.
The album opener “In The Arms of Mrs. Mark of Cain” sees the band taking a dive into a new genre. The track is reminiscent of The Cure’s earlier works and could tentatively be described as “goth rock”. When the subsequent track “On Graveyard Hill” rolls in, it becomes apparent that what we have is a Pixies album inspired by the gothic and the fantastical. The album title “Beneath The Eyrie” begins to make sense.
“Long Rider” is an album highlight and it evokes memories of the Pixies when they were at their peak. If an A.I. robot was asked to listen to the Pixies back catalogs and create a Pixies song, we imagine it would sound something like this. It won’t be winning any new fans but it does give us hope that the Pixies still have more to give.
“St. Nazaire” is another promising track which plays with psychobilly tropes that gives a nod to Misfits. The band recorded the entire album in an old church and the creepy, echoey sound can definitely be heard here. The attitude that was missing in their former albums is replaced here by something moodier and more atmospheric.
The album does fall flat in some places. “Silver Bullet” for example is scarcely recognizable as a Pixies song and the middle of the album loses us from time to time. That said, even the worst of the album beats our dismally low expectations. It could indeed be the case that the Pixies reunion has paid off and 15 years later, they are showing signs of more good music to come.