The proto-grunge giants return with Beneath the Eyrie, a deeply angered, dark record. Based on death and divorce, the songs are full of passion and disdain, but also a strong feeling of anguish. The words counteract with Pixies’ staple upbeat and melodic riffs, giving off a sense of optimism after all.
The album is full of biblical references and cryptic messages, even more so for a band that has already got us used to looking up literary and mystic references and resorting to Google.
The first track, ‘In the Arms of Mrs. Marks of Cain’, is arguably the track that rings like their Doolittle era tracks the most. But outside of that, even though the album continues the Pixies’ unmistakable style until it turns into a whirlwind of strong riffs, distortion and rough vocals; to finally turn mellow, melodic, and almost Brit-poppy.
There sure is a post-punk influence with faster drum beats and harsher guitar riffs, and Pixies’ emblematic bass lines remain, providing that little bit of Pixiesness that ties this album more to the rest of their discography.
This is an album that feels very strange to Pixies at times, almost like an outsider wrote it, but at the same time it is also pure Pixies, pure Black Francis experimenting and finding great rhythms and just as greatly bizarre lyrics.
Beneath the Eyrie is full of infectious rhythms, visceral feelings, catchy hooks, and all those strange characteristic Pixies’ traits, but it’s also different in the sense that the band has been experimenting, changing things around and finding new ways of leaving us bemused but smitten.
The absolute pinnacle of this album, ‘Long rider’, is a concoction of grungy guitars with Pixies’ own quasi-indie pop influence. They resort to surf-rock guitars again in this song, but leave plenty of way for some post-punk rage to take over in some parts. Overall it’s a fine example of Pixies’ blend of styles and genres within one song that perhaps only they have ever managed to pull off.
The surf-rock vibes are still there throughout the rest of the album, the constant drum beats are very much there, as well as the unexpected progressions, but this album brings something else to the table. Something that has brought music editors from all over to describe this as one of the Pixies‘ future iconic albums.
As per usual, the Pixies have managed to take us on yet another ride of viscerality, happy-go-lucky rhythms, and songs that leave us wondering whether we are sad or happy, or what kind of sensorial journey we have been taken on altogether.
Review by Melanie Kaidan Biglia