‘Beneath the Eyrie’ is Pixies’ gold
When the Pixies released the album’s lead single, “On Graveyard Hill,” it appeared that we might be in store for an album that picks up where Head Carrier left off. That wouldn’t be a bad thing at all, being that it was one of the best albums the Pixies had released since Doolittle. Such a scenario is not the case, however. As it turns out, Beneath the Eyrie is its very own living being that takes on many varied shapes from beginning to end. As a collection of musical work, it’s packed full of moments that are artistically interesting and sonically fascinating.
Beneath the Eyrie is nothing if not unpredictable. From the driving, up-tempo post-punk/new wave rhythm accompanied by singing vibrato guitar lines and ominous key changes of the opener, “In the Arms of Mrs. Mark of Cain,” to the shimmering guitars that cascade inside of the deceptively sweet balladry of the final track, “Death Horizon,” the band navigates an intriguing spectrum between the straight-forward the abstract.
Whether you’re talking about whole verses and choruses or brief passing instances, musically speaking, a lot of songs–for example, “In the Arms of Mrs. Mark of Cain,” “Catfish Kate,” “Silver Bullets”, “Long Rider”–have moments that boast a true heaviness within the music. Songs like “Graveyard Hill,” “The Long Rider,” and “Los Surfer Muertos” all illustrate a deep songwriting chemistry between Black Francis and Paz Lenchantin, which continues to develop into something really special and is obviously becoming more so as time goes on.
And alone, Black Francis turns in some of his most diverse and stellar work as the Pixies primary songwriter.
One of the most important things about Beneath the Eyrie is that it’s not a one-and-done listen. On the first time through, a lot of the music’s abstractions tend to be out in front. It’s after that when you can really dig in and begin finding the subtle, and not so subtle, nuances in each song. By the time it’s all over with, having been heard a few times through, Beneath the Eyrie is probably among the strongest releases for the Pixies in their 30+ year career.