Pixies - Beneath The EyrieWords by Rob Grant Sep 13, 2019
At this point the Grandaddy's of American indie can do what the hell they like. Any new album is basically a free hit, quite unlikely to ever tarnish what came before the 2004 reunion. The in-progress sell-out UK tour confirms that. It is a testament that they're still at this thing with the same vigour and sincerity as any new band, despite probably not needing to bother pleasing anybody. And yet, Beneath the Eyrie is easily the best of the three records Pixies have put out since reuniting.
Okay, so the album won’t clasp listeners in its vice like the classics - it may not invite brand new fans at all - but Beneath is a genuine step forward for a band who have tried valiantly to not live off former glories.
While Beneath may not blow away the cobwebs entirely, there’s nothing dull here. At worst a few tracks are more than respectable, most are good, some excellent. Singles ‘On Graveyard Hill’ and ‘Catfish Kate’ are genuinely superb. ‘This Is My Fate’ is a captivating track familiar with Doolittle-era favourites like ‘La La Love You’.
Beneath the Eyrie was recorded in an old church, which may explain the record’s gothic undertones – or perhaps the gothic ideas came first. Either way, tracks like ‘Silver Bullet’ and ‘Los Surfers Myertos’, with haunting and slightly macabre qualities are a refreshing addition to the repertoire. ‘St Nazaire’ is an Americana rock stinger that affords Black Francis an opportunity to rasp in a way fans probably haven’t heard for the best part of three decades. Beneath never tires, either. Right ‘til the end, the album remains consistently accomplished. When you think you’re done, the stirring ‘Daniel Boone’ takes Pixies down a shoegaze route that is genuinely beautiful. One criticism could be that Pixies failed to realise that ‘Daniel Boone’ was the perfect album closer and instead bolted-on the nondescript ‘Death Horizon’.
Are Pixies ever going to recreate Doolittle or Surfer Rosa? Of course not. So, it’s about enjoying this record without falling to comparison. In that respect this is a very accomplished rock album. I would go as far as to suggest that, in time, Pixies fans will consider Beneath a part of their legacy works.