Cover your breath and polish your teeth because here comes your man! Frank Black brings back his Pixies with a new song, the first breath of something new since 2004s “Bam Thwok”. A long long career of excellent alt rock and nasty break-ups does nothing to stop an ever swelling fanbase from demanding more from our favourite piskey rockers, and they always keep us on the edge with tours and hints of new material. If it means one new song every few years then we’ll wait, the level of distance between output and touring keeps the flames sufficiently fanned. No news on a new LP as of yet, but watch this space kids, because here is “Bagboy”.
Frank Black (or Black Francis, whichever way you so choose; we don’t judge here) sits happily in the pantheons of Alternative/post/grunge rock along with his Pixie bandmates (David Lovering on drums, Joey Santiago on lead guitar and newcomer Jeremy Dubs on bass). Original bassist Kim Deal (also of the Breeders, as you well know) has finally concluded to leave the band after several times during their career. We are informed that it is amicable and won’t stop Pixies from continuing as a band, and new bassist Jeremy Dubs is a friend of Franks so there’s no animosity going into the studio.
This new track is a solid 21st century produced piece of Pixies magic; it has the Pixies edge but with a slicker sound. It opens with a cheap sounding keyboard riff, and as Black’s vocals scream across the room we are instantly taken in. A recurring chant in the vocals involves “Cover your breath, polish your teeth” and words to that like, the lyrics being of an eerie yet nonsensical tone. But would you expect any less from these guys? As Black yells out more idiosyncratic muses, the bass drives an angry riff around the stomp of Lovering’s drums, and the always exciting Santiago is surely the standout on the track. It is instantly recognisable as a Pixies track from Black’s vocals, but Santiago’s guitar work is as exciting and fluid as ever, with ringing overdrive and sharp controlled feedback pouring through in tasteful spontaneity, he has almost become better with time. Definitely the high point of the track.
A chorus part with the title shouted by Black and sung in response by a rather familiar voice (although we are assured it isn’t Deal) calls up moments of “Debaser”, and coming in at an impressive 4:53 could well be one of their longest pieces. Currently available to download from their website (www.pixiesmusic.com), it is a rousing return from this great band of magical beings. A European tour awaits us towards the end of this year, and who knows if Black & co will deliver a new LP. It all depends on where their minds are?