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Pixies: Indie Cindy (Pixiesmusic)

First, the well-worn warning: the "new" album by Pixies is not really "new" at all.

It's the last three EPs, pulled into a playlist and put on shuffle. If you've kept up with the Boston band through the latest stage of their reunion, you could have done this for yourself.

Second, the little-stated riposte: this set of 12 songs actually makes a strong unit. Ok, it's not as cohesive or groundbreaking as Surfer Rosa or Doolittle (what is?) and the tangible contribution made by bassist Kim Deal is conspicuous by its absence; but it's arguably as good as, if not better than, the offerings of many younger bands who followed in Pixies' wake.

The recognisable flourishes of Frank Black's signature are everywhere, from the post-grunge rap and sunbursts of melody on Bagboy, to the way that Greens And Blues could almost have come from the same writing session as Gigantic. Snakes, on the other hand, proves that they're not just doing the same thing they've always done.

Perhaps recording in short EP-length bursts rather than facing up to the pressures of nailing a complete album in one go is the way forward for a band of this vintage. Indie Cindy has the whiff of a cash-in, but it's not the footnote to Pixies history many feared it to be.

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