Review Summary: The struggling attempt of a long-gone band trying to get back in shape.
The problem with Pixies in 2014 is simple – they are done for, unfathomably dated. The four albums the band produced from the mid 80’s to the early 90’s were all great, though some were pointedly better than others; multiple factors led to their demise (inevitable tensions betwixt band members, solo projects, etc.) but the ***e hit the fan when front man Francis decided to confirm the Pixies were done for in a BBC interview without the others’ knowledge – it has been a solid twenty plus years since the Pixies came out with anything, and they have missed their chance to strike again. Too much time apart has really soiled their motivation and resulting material, and it shows here on EP2, which isn’t at all better than the already-mediocre EP1.
Some admiration is due, though, to the Pixies; for having the balls to give the whole shebang another shot. Regardless of the boldness it required or not, what you’ll find in EP2, for the very short time that it’s here, is a mess – sometimes EP2 is pretty awesome for what it is, but it is only awesome in small doses; on other occasions it is devoid of substance or energy, as far removed from "Pixies" as it can be. The best moment on the album comes immediately, which is a good thing – “Blue Eyed Hexe” sounds awfully like AC-DC in its opening moments but turns into a huge rocker that’s full of piss and vinegar, with Black Frank laying down some great wails and screams. It’s over far too quickly, however; by several seconds, it’s the shortest song in a 4-track EP where the four songs are already disappointingly short. So while the best moment is at the very start, the ending song, “Snakes”, is easily the worst track here – lacking anything vital to make it stand out as a Pixies
song, a band whose tunes easily stand out as wickedly wacky; “Snakes”’ sound is clean, easy listening with minimal substance.
The middle two songs are a faint wreck, considering that are cool parts and mediocre parts here and there in both tunes. “Magdalena” is a fairly well-constructed bit, with very spacey guitars and a curious chord progression but the lyrical content and Francis’s deliverance of the forgettable chorus bring it down, low. “Greens and Blues” is a midtempo ballad that attempts to be experimental and new and interesting but winds up being very boring – it slips in one ear and out the other with the generic acoustic progression and lyrics full of saccharine pathos that amount to nothing, especially with stuff such as "And if I ever seem a little strange, Would you excuse me please"
Above all, EP2’s most criminal sin is that it’s next to impossible to get a bead on what kind of album this is; though it is not a pre-requisite for an album to sound exactly
like the ones before it, the subdued chaos in EP2 is pretty damn removed from what fans have come to expect from the Pixies; sometimes it is enjoyable and sounds like the Pixies taking a step forward, but other times the album is a confused problem, anchored by just as many tepid, forgettable sections as there are decent parts. This is no way to keep the Pixies alive, but it’s enough of a marked improvement over the dismal EP1 to really stand amongst the “band-returns-from-hiatus” mediocrities that all want nothing more than to entertain unpleased fans.