Published on February 17th, 2014 | by Mike Conlon0
The Pixies – EP1 & EP2
Before you listen to The Pixies’ ‘EP 2’ prepare to have your heart broken. It confirms what ‘EP 1’ led everyone to suspect: The Pixies we once knew are no more. Yesterday’s darlings of indie music are today’s cautionary tale of the dangers of chasing past glory. Fortunately, with a runtime of fourteen minutes, ‘EP 2’ is mercifully short and almost compellingly listenable in its badness.
Opening track ‘Blue Eyed Hexe’ dashes any chance at a decent album right off the bat. It’s so bad you could probably make a case that it’s the worst rock song ever. I never thought I’d write ‘worst rock song ever’ in reference to Pixies track, but have a listen and see if you don’t get where I’m coming from. The song reeks so strongly of false emotion that even its prominent use of cowbell cannot mask the stink.
Next up is ‘Magdalena’ and this time around The Pixies manage to rise to the level of mediocrity. It features a hummable minor-key chorus, and some understated, yet engaging lead guitar playing. If you aren’t listening too closely, you might mistake ‘Magdalena’ as a throwaway track off a good Pixies album. Unfortunately, it’s the only song on ‘EP 2’ that allows you to catch a glimpse of the band’s past glory.
What I liked most about The Pixies of old was their ability to surprise. Albums like ‘Doolittle’ and ‘Surfer Rosa” had a sense controlled chaos that commanded your attention. Every track on those early records is an adventure, and even after countless listens, the songs still feel unpredictable. When The Pixies broke up and Black Francis embarked on his solo career, he retained that penchant for defying expectations, both within individual songs, and on an album-to-album level, where he tried his hand (with varying success) at a variety of musical genres. In contrast, there’s no element of surprise to anything on ‘EP 2.’ On penultimate track, ‘Greens and Blues,’ Francis sings of being an outsider. He’s not fooling anyone. This album is the work of old, bored, and cash-strapped suburbanites.
At this point, it’s almost redundant to point out that The Pixies are cheating on their legacy. ‘Snakes,’ the fourth and final track on ‘EP 2,’ sounds like something a Pixies copycat group might record if they were told to write and record a song that sounded like a real Pixies track. In other words, it feels stolen. Which is only fair, considering the fact that The Pixies, as we now know them, have been stolen by a couple of geezers who couldn’t give a shit about their legacy, whose creative sparks died a long time ago. More than anything else, ‘EP 2’ represents the tragedy of time. Eventually, everybody grows old and stale, including our heroes.