Has any band of their generation been on such a hiding to nothing as the Pixies? They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t, and the unjustified amount of flak dished out in their direction in the wake of the perfectly creditable Indie Cindy suggested they’d committed a mortal sin.
It’s all a question of expectation management. By accepting that the Pixies are unlikely to scale the lofty heights of yore, it’s entirely possible to enjoy Head Carrier on its own merits. Their ability to craft surreal punk-rock explosions infused with a pop sensibility remains in place, and it’s worth bearing in mind that, unlike its predecessor (a collection of three EPs) this sixth album was conceived entirely from scratch.
So while nothing on this album will replace anything from Doolittle or Surfer Rosa in your affections, bangers such as Classic Masher and Um Chagga Lagga detonate with a palpable sense of fun that leaves you in no doubt who the authors are and that it’s a better album than Trompe La Monde.