The odds are stacked against a good reception for the Pixies' "Indie Cindy" (Pixies Music), the alt-rock pioneers' first album in 23 years.
First off, the Pixies' previous four albums, especially 1989's triumphant "Doolittle," are so influential and beloved by generations of indie rockers that trying to compete with those memories would be difficult for anyone. Second, Pixies' original bassist, Kim Deal, whose distinctive backing vocals and occasional lead vocals were a significant part of the band's charm, plays no part in the album. And, finally, the bulk of "Indie Cindy" already has been released in a series of EPs in the past year.
However, singer-mastermind Black Francis, guitarist Joey Santiago and drummer David Lovering have faced incredible odds before and come out on top. "Indie Cindy" is actually no different.
The title track pretty much lays out the argument. Francis snarls and sneers about the indie-rock lifestyle, while Santiago's guitar matches the mood during the verses. But the chorus is completely conciliatory, sweetly requesting, "Be in love with me. I beg for you to carry me."
While there are plenty of moments to reminisce about past Pixies triumphs -- with echoes of "Crackity Jones" in "What Goes Boom" and bits of "Monkey Gone to Heaven" mixed with Weezer for "Jaime Bravo" -- the point here is to move forward, even if it means trying new things like the Britpop-tinged "Ring the Bell" or the off-center pop of "Bagboy" that aren't as groundbreaking as the risk-taking, rebellious Pixies of old.
"Indie Cindy" showcases the solid Pixies of today, and there's nothing wrong with that.
THE GRADE A-
BOTTOM LINE Alt-rock pioneers' challenge to get fans to live in the present, not the past.