Pixies
Head Carrier
Pixies Music/PIAS

Arriving 12 years after the reformation of the alt-rock band, Head Carrier is The Pixies’ follow up to 2014’s disappointing Indie Cindy. Recorded with Royal Blood producer Tom Dalgety and clocking in at a brisk 30-plus minutes, Head Carrier takes a leaner, punchier approach, and leaves little fat to trim over its 12 tracks. “It’s got a bit of early Pixies slosh in it,” frontman Black Francis stated, comparing the album to their 1989 classic Doolittle. While there are some obvious, almost contrived links to the past, this isn’t the sound of the godfathers of grunge trying to rehash former glories. On tracks such as frenetic lead single Um Chagga Lagga and the ridiculously catchy Tenement Song, the Boston quartet combines searing intensity with bubblegum melodies, plus their usual dab of weirdness. On All I Think About Now, the band’s ode to departed bassist Kim Deal, new recruit Paz Lenchantin comes rather close to a pastiche of the group’s late-1980s hit Gigantic, but, overall, Head Carrier is a rollicking return to form.