A nine year nostalgia trip has led to this. Kim Deal packed up her bass and made for the exit, taking with her the excitement and passion that had scarcely appeared on stage since an overweight, balding act that vaguely resembled Pixies appeared in 2004. At just 15 minutes, EP1 does nothing to enhance the reputation of the indie legends and will send the apologists scurrying back to the hills. Kim Deal’s absence is felt keenly throughout; rendering the short release a closer cousin to Frank Black’s middling solo efforts than any of the band’s own back catalogue.
There are glimpses of the friction and abrasion that characterised Surfer Rosa and Doolittle, but oftentimes this is surpassed by a flat, lifeless overtone. ‘Andro Queen’ epitomises this – a shimmering, 80s power pop song, it sounds like a band out of step with everything they are trying to achieve. Frank Black’s vocals sound tired, the guitar is laboured and, unfortunately, this is a trend that continues over the next fifteen minutes and the EP never really kicks into gear.
‘Another Toe’ is taken straight out of the late 1990s scene (Weezer might just ask for royalties if the song gets any airplay). It’s not a bad song by any stretch, an improvement on ‘Andro Queen’, but it’s not very Pixies. In fact, it’s not very anything – merely colour by numbers. There are moments of pounding drums and Pixies style guitars, though it feels as though the template is acknowledged rather than embraced. ‘Indie Cindy’ moves into the territory, though the pieces don’t fit entirely.
‘What Goes Boom’ feels somewhat familiar; it is more frantic and violent than anything else on the EP. It pays greater homage to the template that the Pixies established for themselves twenty years ago than any of the other new tracks. Sadly, none of the tracks reach the same heights as ‘Bagboy’ which was released in August. That single, not on the EP, felt like classic Pixies. It made a lot of people sit up and take notice. It is unfortunate that their next step has probably served to bludgeon much of the positivity that had emerged on the back of such unexpected gold.
The scrutiny EP1 will face is a little unfair due to the weight of the moniker sprayed across its cover. It has its moments, but on the whole it leaves a lot to be desired. Fingers crossed, EP2 injects the venom needed to rejuvenate a tired body.