Pixies
Doggerel


3.0
good

Review

by Pedro B. USER (364 Reviews)
October 1st, 2022 | 46 replies


Release Date: 2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The song remains the same - but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

In the performing arts world, the particular combination of seniority and a cult status is one of the biggest double-edged swords. On the one hand, this sort of situation allows bands to experiment while still retaining (at least most of) their existing fanbase; conversely, however, the knowledge that said fanbase will likely get behind anything they put out often leads artists in the opposite direction, causing them to complacently retreat and settle into the comfort zone of putting out the same kind of material every couple of years and reaping the benefits. Unsurprisingly, most creators opt for this later path, making late-career shifts rare, and successful late-career shifts even rarer.

Fortunately, while many artists will settle for the lowest possible effort upon entering this phase in their career, mechanically churning out nominally new material whenever the previous cycle elapses, there are some still willing to put in the extra effort, or at the very least, attempt to have fun with what they are doing. One such act (at least judging by their latest output) are indie noise-pop veterans Pixies, who, while perfectly content to serve up another slab of exactly the same type of sound they have been pursuing since the start of their career, at least bother to ensure it is of sufficient quality to entertain and please their fanbase, as well as themselves.

Upon first listen, Doggerel comes across as wilfully, purposefully obtuse, a tone which it sets from the very first moment, with the midtempo bass-and-drums groove at the start of opener Nomatterday serving as a statement of intent from the band - for all of Black Francis' talk about doing something big and orchestrated, the singer and his acolytes are not interested in doing absolutely anything new on their eighth album; much to the contrary, in fact, as said album revels in all of the most immediately identifiable Pixies clichés all across its forty-two minute duration. The tropes are all present and accounted for: Joey Santiago's guitar tone and occasional screechy, slightly dissonant leads, David Lovering's simple, steady, midtempo percussion, bass lines and female backing vocals which go out of their way to evoke Kim Deal's (even if Paz Lechantin never quite achieves her predecessor's chunky, meaty, immediately identifiable low-end tone), and, of course, Black Francis's vaguely sensical, mostly demented ramblings, still delivered in the exact same cadence the singer became known for, with the occasional deviation into spoken word which inevitably sounds as though it should be about 'ten thousand tons of sludge from New York and New Jersey'. In fact, this album could well have been sold as a series of outtakes from the band's seminal Doolittle, and the fans would not have been any the wiser, so similar is the sound between the two albums.

The one thing Doolittle had that Doggerel is missing, however, is variety; where the 1989 album took the listener on a rollercoaster ride between mellow, melodic moments and blasts of frenzied, unbridled chaos, its 2022 counterpart comes across as (pardon the pun) rather Tame by comparison. In fact, the only trope missing from the new Pixies album is, precisely, the alternating dichotomy between poppier tracks and noisier ones, as every single one of these eleven cuts follows the decade-old template of what the general public has come to think of as 'a Pixies song' – the same rhythm-section-driven, catchy, midtempo alt-pop sound which fuelled timeless classics like Caribou, Debaser, Here Comes Your Man, Gouge Away, Wave of Mutilation, Monkey Gone to Heaven (both of which have musical callbacks on Doggerel) or Alec Eiffel; nowhere across these forty-two minutes is the chaotic noise-rock sound of the aforementioned Tame or counterparts like Dead or Crackity Jones so much as hinted at.

While it is slightly disappointing to see a once cutting-edge band progressing so little from their three-decade-old heyday, however, this admitted and unabashed re-hashing of old formulas is not altogether bad; one-dimensional though Doggerel may be (and it is), it is also a remarkably consistent album, with no standout highlights, but also no particular low points, with only the closing title track coming across as slightly below its predecessors. Moreover, while none of these eleven songs endures a moment past the end of the running time, there is considerable in-the-moment fun to be had with many of their choruses, particularly the back-to-back salvo of Haunted House and Get Simulated or the bouncy There's a Moon On. The end result is somewhat of a musical equivalent to comfort food: not the slightest bit innovative or even particularly memorable, but well-presented and pleasing enough while it lasts.

In the end, then, while far from the scene-defining impact of their first three releases (or even the dignified established-veteran vibe of Bossanova and Trompe Le Monde), Doggerel is one of the better entries into the recent batch of 'veteran artist on autopilot' releases, and makes for one of the easier listens out of the lot – mainly because the band were kind enough to limit it to a manageable runtime, thus preventing the sense of fatigue caused by most of its hour-plus-long counterparts; and while its flaws can by no means be ignored (most of all its lack of innovation or variety) , any fan of Black Francis and Co's signature indie alt/noise pop sound will find plenty to like within the band's new album. In other words, the song remains the same - but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Recommended Tracks
Haunted House
Get Simulated
There's a Moon On



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user ratings (45)
2.8
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
ReturnToRock
October 1st 2022


4806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

TL;DR Opener is Debaser x Monkey x Wave of Mutilation

Third track (I think) has the Monkey spoken word cadence.

The rest follow along the same lines.

Gyromania
October 1st 2022


37187 Comments


It's necessarily a bad thing

Egarran
October 1st 2022


34241 Comments


Great review, not exactly glowing.

ReturnToRock
October 1st 2022


4806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's one of the better efforts by veteran bands going through the motions - not quite as memorable as the best moments on the new Ozzy, but more consistent than the last AC/DC and the new Slipknot, and way less boring than the last Maiden and Leppard.





SandwichBubble
October 1st 2022


13796 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

"one-dimensional though Doggerel may be (and it is), it is also a remarkably consistent album, with no standout highlights, but also no particular low points, with only the closing title track coming across as slightly below the remaining tracks."

100% my thoughts exactly. Whole thing is just a string of okay songs. Which sadly makes it the best Pixies Mk II album.

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2022


4970 Comments


Has Frank ever said why they keep doing it? Like why?

wutang4ever
October 1st 2022


1443 Comments


SandwichBubble has listened to more music than the Earth has been revolving around the Sun.

Egarran
October 1st 2022


34241 Comments


>Has Frank ever said why they keep doing it? Like why?

The easy guess is money

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2022


4970 Comments


Their new albums have been charting like hot garbage and it's been steadily getting worse. They'd probably be making nearly as much as a legacy touring act without totally shitting on their legacy

SandwichBubble
October 1st 2022


13796 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Well people were begging for them to come back 15 years ago and then begged them to release new material, so we should be so grateful that the monkey's paw didn't send a meteor crashing towards us instead of what we ended up getting.



I'm sure if you dig, there's an excited pixies fan in 2012/13 on the sput forum happy that they're finally releasing an album after touring on/off for years.

ArsMoriendi
October 1st 2022


41158 Comments


I wonder if Kim Deal is happy that she jumped ship

Gyromania
October 1st 2022


37187 Comments


Their legacy feels rly tarnished. Literally half their albums are either mediocre or downright garbage now. I miss the days of people debating between Trompe Le Monde or Bossanova for worst Pixies - back when the lowest rating was around the 3.5 range

ReturnToRock
October 1st 2022


4806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^It's Bossanova.

It's DEFINITELY Bossanova.

Bossanova does not have Planet of Sound, Alec Eiffel or Head On on it. Just saying.

Gyromania
October 1st 2022


37187 Comments


Yeah 100% agreed, Tromp Le Monde is wayyy better. Alec Eiffel, Planet of Sound, U-Mass, Head On, Sad Punk, Motorway to Roswell. Bossanova can't compete

ArsMoriendi
October 1st 2022


41158 Comments


I love Bossanova

It always saddens me to see people trash it

Gyromania
October 1st 2022


37187 Comments


It's still a 3.5 for me. Not trash in the slightest, I just think it has more filler

Ashtiel
October 1st 2022


1472 Comments


the first ~4 tracks on here have a decent momentum then it kinda tapers off by "The Lord Has Come Back Today". nothing quite as catchy as an "On Graveyard Hill" or "Catfish Kate" here.

ToSmokMuzyki
October 2nd 2022


11316 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

hoping this is decent

Tunaboy45
October 2nd 2022


18435 Comments


how many more of these post-reunion albums can they make?

Slex
October 2nd 2022


16646 Comments


Really great review



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