When it comes to alternative music and a punk-new wave sound, the Pixies are legends.  And while most of their albums were released in the late 1980s-late 1990s, they've released two albums in the 21st century.  Head Carrier, released in 2016, continues their tradition of amazing guitar riffs, dubious lyrics, and a good amount of shouting.

This time around, the Pixies are made up of Black Francis, on lead vocals and guitar; Paz Lenchantin on bass (replacing Kim Deal); David Lovering on drums; and Joey Santiago on lead guitar.  They all fit together very well, supplementing each others' sounds and making the songs feel very tight.

As for the songs themselves, Head Carrier has a pretty wide variety.  There's balls-to-the-walls screaming in "Baal's Back."  There also plenty of sentimentality, from Paz singing "Might as Well Be Gone" to the closing "All My Saints."  There's plenty of lunacy, from the band-loving "Oona" to the weird and wonderful "Um Chagga Laga."  There's even the surprisingly straightforward "Talent" about the sycophants in the music industry.

Head Carrier is a great reminder that alternative music is still out there.

Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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