The first time I sat down and actually listened to Indie Cindy, the long awaited fifth album from the Pixies I was, to say the least, disappointed. Here was an album that was almost 25 years in the making, and with the exception of a couple of stand out tracks,appeared to add nothing to the band's well-respected, if not turbulent legacy. With the recent departure of bassist Kim Deal, and if their thoughts mirrored mine after an initial listen, one might think that Indie Cindy is Black Francis' last ditch attempt to stay relevant, especially when most of the tracks featured have been available as staggered EP releases, the last one as recent as January.
As it happens however, they would be wrong. Once one has successfully managed to crack through the record's (usually) glossy exterior, it reveals itself to be a rich album that harbours enough gloss and enough grit to keep fans of either spectrum happy. And whilst it doesn't quite hit the same heights as either Surfer Rosa or Doolittle, there is a handful of tracks in which the essence of what made those albums so special permeates the contemporary exterior, suggesting there's still some magic left at the Pixies disposal.
There are tracks too which feel completely fresh, with the only nod to earlier releases being Black's idiosyncratic vocal. One such track, 'Ring The Bell' is as uplifting a track as you could ask, particularly after the straight up rock of 'Blue Eyed Hexe', the borderline falsetto vocal a stark comparison to the gravel of that which it proceeds. Other stand out moments come in form of album opener 'What Goes Boom', a track which the sees the band experimenting with a far heavier side than that which we're used to, and the psychedelic and slightly ominous 'Silver Snail'.
Indie Cindy isn't strictly a cohesive album, and with exception of several mentions of snakes, there appears to be nothing tying it together thematically, and that might well be the only complaint. Each song, through repeated listens, appears to get stronger and stronger as they worm their way further inside your head. As for the commercialism of the record, there's very little on offer that would work well as a lead single. 'Greens And Blues' might have been a good choice, given the soft, sun-bleached vibes of it, or even the eponymous 'Indie Cindy'. Instead, that honour falls at the feet of 'Bagboy' and whilst it might not be the most accessible of the tracks featured it's certainly the most indicative of any former releases.
It might not be the record the band are going to be remembered for but Indie Cindy turns out to be a great record given the right number of listens. Sure there's no 'Gigantic' or 'Here Comes Your Man' but it's a worthy addition to the band's repertoire and fans can rest assured that this could very well pave the way for album number six, and who knows, that might even be made of completely new tracks.
Indie Cindy is available from iTunes (here).