Whilst easily their best work post-reformation, Beneath the Eyrie is still a plodding, repetitive, dull work by a band who used to mean more.
“Expecting 20 years older versions of Francis, Lovering, and Santiago (plus new bassist Paz Lenchantin) to recapture the danger and energy of their earlier work is obviously a fool’s cause, but whilst that snarl and terror was x-factors in the band’s near-perfect original discography they weren’t the whole story. Strip away those forceful performances and you still have a bunch of weird, interesting, extremely strong songs that can (usually) sound fantastic regardless of who’s playing them. And that’s what has been the massive Achilles’ heel of Pixies v. 2.0. It’s not just that a band who once assaulted the listener for their attention and aimed to unsettle like a great horror story started making music that sounded cowed, plodding, adrift. It’s that they started writing songs which ranged from forgettable rehashes of their brighter days (most of 2016’s Head Carrier) to active crime scenes of musicianship (the lowest lows of 2014’s EP compilation Indie Cindy).
Which brings us to Beneath the Eyrie, officially the band’s seventh studio album, a frequently boring and ephemeral record which I have listened to in the dozens of times for this review and yet could not hum you a single bar from memory no matter what incentive you placed in front of me…”