Pixies Kick Off 2014 With Four New Songs on ‘EP-2’

Well here’s a promising start to 2014: the Pixies are back with “EP-2,” a new four-song collection that is catchier, more savage and weirder than last year’s “EP-1.”

To recap: apart from the 2004 single “Bam Thwok,” the band hadn’t released any new original music since their 1991 album “Trompe le Monde,” until they posted the unhinged single “Bagboy” online last summer, followed by the four-song “EP1” in September. Word around the Pioneer Valley in western Massachusetts (where singer and guitarist Black Francis lives) is that there was plenty  more where that came from, and the band seems to be bearing that out at their own pace.

“EP-2” kicks off with a huge overdriven guitar riff on “Blue Eyed Hexe,” a song the band says is based on a U.K. folk tale about a witch-woman — perfect subject matter for Francis to shriek and sputter about like a man possessed over Joey Santiago’s relentless guitar parts. The atmospheric “Magdalena” dials down the histrionics without sacrificing a hypnotic melody that floats over chugging guitars and a punchy rhythm from drummer David Lovering and bassist Ding Archer.

Northampton singer Jeremy Dubs adds backing vocals to “Greens and Blues,” which features Francis crooning over bright acoustic guitar augmented with wah-soaked accents from Santiago, and closer “Snakes” is as slithery as the title implies, with intertwined guitar lines and a dark, sinewy vocal line.

The new music is just one of a handful of recent developments for the Pixies, who last month replaced touring bassist Kim Shattuck, herself a sub for founding bassist Kim Deal, with Paz Lenchantin (who has played with A Perfect Circle and Billy Corgan’s Zwan) for an extensive tour scheduled that starts Jan. 15 in Toronto and continues on and off through July. They’ll have plenty of compelling new choices for their setlists.

 

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