04
Dec
13

Best New Albums of 2013: #18 – Pixies – EP1

Running through the end of the month (with a short Christmas break), I’ll be running a post each weekday taking a look at one of my top 20 albums of the year, slowly working my way down to number one. Some I’ve reviewed previously for Bearded Gentlemen Music – I’ll provide links where necessary – and the entire list will eventually end up there, too. But for most of these records, this is the first time I’m writing about them at length, making this a chance to explain my choices in a little greater detail. Last year’s list is no longer online, but for 2011’s Best Canadian Music click here and for 2010’s list, click here.

#18: Pixies – EP1

My original review for this was just as influenced by a snotty take at Pitchfork as it was by the EP itself. After all, it’s a quick one: 4 songs, a running time of about 16 minutes. That’s not a lot of time for anyone to make much of any impression, good or bad. And Pitchfork’s review seemed more like clickbait than anything else, nearly leading to an unpublishable essay where I complain about unreadable critics.

Lost in the shuffle of the strong opinions is the actual EP itself. It’s short, yes, but it’s the Pixies also reaching forward and trying something, an admirable attempt at the very least. There are plenty of newer bands content to play the favourites night after night. Unlike, say, Matchbox 20, Frank Black is still writing new songs. His band is playing them on the road, too.

Are the songs any good? Some are: I like Another Toe, even if it’s drenched in reverb, and What Goes Boom has some nice guitar work. Sometimes they’re just okay. I think Indie Cindy is a little too wordy, a little too much of a vehicle for Black to talk a lot into the microphone. And it’s a little weird to hear him say “I’m in love with your daughter.” But it’s also got some of his sweetest singing on the album, too. And really, even Andro Queen, the weakest song of these four, is still miles better Bagboy.

For me, these all combine to make EP1 one of the more gutsy releases of the year. I don’t think it’s a great EP, but it’s still far from bad or lazy. And one has to admire the courage of the band to keep plugging away with new material, even after the departure of Kim Deal.

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