Pixies’ “Doggerel” is solid folk rock out of step with modern trends

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There’s a seductive sound to the Pixies’ new album Doggerel, supported by hard-hitting drums, velvety bass, driving guitar tones and irreverent lyrics delivered in a cocktail of temperaments. The 12 songs swing pretty drastically between rock and folk, and the crisp production serves that dynamic perfectly. Unfortunately, sound, however bright and catchy, is often a vehicle for hazy ideas and manufactured fantasies.

Opener “Nomatterday” is a post-punk-sounding, multi-section track by a band that came late to the pier of that genre. It does, however, land on a few convincing passages and is a promising introduction to an album that regularly runs out of steam. It is difficult to address these and future criticisms without first pointing out the unfortunate and potentially triggering ageism inherent in this type of cultural criticism. A band, even as professional as Pixies, will always be up against younger versions of themselves, purple spots in their careers that have blossomed from the high performance levels occasioned by the privileged position of young adults in the world. entertainment industry.

The band’s 36-year history means they compete against 20-year-olds with their fingers on the pulse of the culture; figuratively and increasingly literally starving artists. This drawback manifests itself everywhere Doggerel. In a beautifully shot promotional video for the album, Frank Blank talks about his contentment and the fact that he wrote most of the album a month before production.

On “Vault of Heaven”, Black “found himself in dire straits, but it’s okay”. Perhaps these lyrics are a glimpse into the current emotional world of one of indie rock’s most revered songwriters. He no longer needs to find a way to deal with life’s pains through obtuse and fiery expressions but just sings about accepting his fate. Where his early work could ignite the listener into revealing states of mind, the songs on Doggerel appease. It is the wisdom of experience; If you can’t beat them, join them, but be sure to keep your identity the way you do. There’s no doubt that the songs here are tightly assembled and lively, though, as bizarre as they may get thematically, it’s relatively safe territory.

That’s not to say that everything here isn’t impressive. The scattershot “Dregs of the Wine” entertains with its tale of an acid globe-trotting journey and its catchy chorus. “Haunted House” is as schmaltzy as it is uplifting and catchy. If you’re willing to settle for the inessential, “The Lord Has Come Back Today” is a smooth, harmless country-rock offering, and “Thunder and Lightning” is good songwriting and nothing else. Highlights include “Get Simulated,” a top notch folk rock track that never tires of its reception. The first single, “Il ya une lune”, is a melodic ode to our lunar satellite that explodes in a cacophony of impressive guitar sounds; quite timeless. “Pagan Man” develops the theme of nature as a deity, with a portrayal of someone guided by the power of the moon.

Still, there’s something frustrating to listen to Doggerel. Black is a bitter and irreverent moment; sincere and wisely the next. These moods are sequenced together without too much thread, and it’s hard to know what state of mind you need to be in to fully connect with this album. You can hear the talent, but it’s mostly muted under a cozy blanket of boredom. When Pixies show signs of their power, it’s only in theory, like a shark sticking its fin out of the surface but never showing its teeth.

While the Pixies’ sense of concerted effort rarely wanes, few of these songs make a lasting impression. It can be dark in places, but overallDoggerel is a celebration of the Pixies’ most upbeat installation and release since…well, let’s not compare them to themselves.

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