The Pixies were a massively influential alternative rock band, inspiring everyone from Nirvana and grunge to Sugar and Bob Mould with their bass-electric guitar combos, wailing lead singer, and odd and dark lyrics.  But their last studio was in 1991 (Trompe le Monde), followed by solo projects by lead singer Frank Black/Black Francis and bassist Kim Deal (and her new band the Creatures).  But the Pixies have (mostly) returned with Indie Cindy, their latest album that is a bit more mellow but still very welcome.

On this album Kim Deal has been replaced by Ding on bass, but the rest of the band is here: Frank Black singing and playing guitar, David Lovering on drums, and Joey Santiago on lead guitar.  The band's signature sound is present, from the loud intro "What Goes Boom" through the steady pounding of "Bagboy" There's also the bizarre lyrics, from a romance with aliens in "Andro Queen" ("for what's missing I'll sacrifice my flesh/only kissing you is so hard in this wild thresh") to the shouted refrain of "Bagboy:" "Cover your breath!  Polish your teeth!").

But Indie Cindy also feels a bit more... mellow and nostalgic.  The songs aren't as stark or brash as previous Pixies tunes, and "Ring the Bell" and "Jaime Bravo" actually have a mellow feel to them.  There's missing the Garland in "Ring the Bell," while the title track could be the band acknowledging how much alternative music has moved on from them in the present ("Indie Cindy, be in love with me/I beg for you to carry me").

Indie Cindy doesn't all fit together perfectly (many songs were released as singles before the album) but it's a good return for a great band -- and a reminder that alternative music can be messy and confusing as well as original and loud.

Overall grade: B+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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