Pixies - “Beneath the Eyrie” Album Review

Story posted September 17, 2019 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Scott Perdue

The legendary Pixies are back with their eighth studio album “Beneath the Eyrie.” Still riding the high of their widely praised 2013 comeback effort, the Pixies’ latest project is their attempt at crafting a “gothic” record.

Best known for their iconic track “Where Is My Mind?” as well as their two back-to-back hit albums “Surfer Rosa” and “Doolittle,” the Pixies are credited for inspiring several musicians in the alternative and grunge rock genres. Well-known for their abstract lyricism, the Pixies’ latest album is able to effectively maintain their branded sound even after all the passage of time and the group’s lineup changes.

Opening with the haunting “In the Arms of Mrs. Mark of Cain,” the Pixies explode onto the record with a stream of hooking guitar chords and a catchy chorus.

The next track “On Graveyard Hill” keeps up the Pixies’ mission to delve into gothic themes. While the refrain “In the witching hour!” and some of the song’s lyrics don’t feel especially inspired, the Pixies’ unapologetic rocking-out style makes up for some of the track’s minor flaws.

Next, the listener is treated to a whimsical fairytale titled “Catfish Kate.” This track exhibits the Pixies’ well-known abstract lyricism in an interesting and creative way by telling the story of a woman who fought off a catfish while trying to catch herself something for dinner. While not particularly gothic, the track has an undeniably catchy chorus and mystifying storyline.

The next track “This Is My Fate” has a sound reminiscent to that of Tom Waits due to its gritty, smoky, lounge-inspired aesthetic. This track experiments with some playful dark humor that effectively immerses the listener in a drunkenly cheerful atmosphere.

The album then begins to lose its traction a tad in the middle of the record. The Pixies seem to lose their focused ability to define each track, and a lot of the songs begin to blend together. Still, a few tracks are able to stick out, such as “Silver Bullet,” which tells the story of an outlaw who was condemned to hang within a haunting ghost town theme. “Silver Bullet” is able to rise above its fellow tracks thanks to its memorable approach and unique twangy sound.

A track that feels very out of place on the record is “St. Nazaire,” which seems to be the group’s attempt to revive their youthful punk sound. Its blistering guitars and metal vocals feel forced rather than authentic, which makes the band’s aging more apparent.

The Pixies have definitely lost some of their adolescent punk charm, but overall, the group’s sound is more mature than it is outdated. The band has evolved quite well and oftentimes sounds more coherent than out of touch.

Toward the end of the record, the Pixies are able to regroup themselves and return with the same smoky feel that they experimented with earlier on the record, this time with “Bird of Prey.” While the flow of the record sort of bounces around in the middle, closing tracks such as the aforementioned “Bird of Prey” are able to bring the album to a pleasing conclusion.

The final track on the record, “Death Horizon,” feels like a perfectly articulated curtain call. Calling back some of their alcohol-infused imagery and stumbling drunk playfulness, the Pixies end their record with a tone similar to that of the final song played by a band in a bar as morning begins to poke out from beyond the hills.

Overall, “Beneath the Eyrie” has an impressive ability to demonstrate to listeners the reasons why the Pixies were revolutionary in their time and why they’re still relevant today. Able to showcase their growth as well as their preserved unique sound, the Pixies appear to have aged gracefully. While their harder-sounding material feels less impactful than it had on previous releases, the Pixies have proved through their softer approaches on the record that they don’t need to utilize that route anymore to be successful at gripping their audience.

A very exciting addition to the Pixies’ discography, “Beneath the Eyrie” is an album that fans should enjoy and new listeners will be able to appreciate. Hopefully on future releases, the Pixies will be able to hone their album construction into a stronger flow as opposed to the more uncentered and loose feel that their latest effort exhibits.

Rating: 7/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “This Is My Fate” and “Death Horizon”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: “St. Nazaire”


Scott Perdue is a junior majoring in secondary education. To contact him, email rsp5246@psu.edu.