Pixies have given fans a New Year treat with the release of a second EP of four songs. Like EP1 released four months ago, it is available as either a download or limited-edition 10-inch. The tracks were recorded with Gil Norton in Wales in October 2012, after the departure of Kim Deal.
The lead track, Blue Eyed Hexe, is a robust rock statement. From the initial swaggering riff, here is a band demanding to be heard. It is a surprising heavy, mid-tempo track. The song edges into metal territory, with muscular drums and a singalong chorus. The guitar riff and drums could be drawn from an AC/DC track. Frank Black lets rip on the larynx, sounding like he might be auditioning for the lead singer of the Australian rockers.
The next two tracks, Magadalena and Green and Blues, find the band heading back into more mellow territory. Both are more melodic tracks than the opener and hark back to the warmer sound of the Bossanova album.
Magadalena is the stronger of the two, with Joey Santiago showing off his surf rock guitar licks. Green and Blues doesn’t quite have the same appeal. It is the B-side to the Magdalena A-side. Oddly tame and routine, Green and Blues is the sort of track Pixies could write in their sleep.
The EP wraps up with Snakes. It is the most radio-friendly of the lot, which also makes it the most commercial. Given the force the band can produce, Snakes sounds just too restrained. EP2 ends up as a mixed bag, with two strong tracks and two that sound more business as usual.