Pixies without Kim Deal

Pixies... No Deal, no deal? (Yes, we added the cross ourselves)

The Best of This Week’s Singles: Pixies, Beck, Franz Ferdinand, M.I.A.

Published on July 1st, 2013 | Jonny Abrams

Some big names have stepped back into the arena this week: Pixies, Beck, Franz Ferdinand, M.I.A…but then you’d probably gleaned as much from the title.

He are some witterings on the new singles from each of the above, along with what we deemed to be an appropriate number of Galliformes…

Beck – “Defriended”

Mr Hansen is apparently working on two new albums, one acoustic and the other presumably comprised of such ethereal experimentation as is found here.

“Defriended” is a swooshing, swirling psychedelia hewn of electronic oddity, firecracker drum machine, upright bass and Beck’s own heavily effected vocal, which makes him sound like someone else trying to sing like him.

Beck’s so brimming with genius that his most recent project was to write an album’s worth of tip top songs and release them only as sheet music for others to interpret and perform, so the weirdness of “Defriended” doesn’t owe itself to any depletion of inspiration.

Rather, it feels like a warning shot: expect the unexpected, basically. It’s been a while since he’s turned in a real bolt from the blue – albums like Guero and The Information were all well and good but not really anything we hadn’t heard from him before – so Rocksucker’s breath is now switched to ‘bated’.

He’ll have to go some to create something worthy of sitting alongside Odelay, Mutations and Midnite Vultures, for in doing so he’d have to have another cast iron classic (maybe two?) up his sleeve.

“Defriended” doesn’t set the pulse racing to quite that extent but it’s a promising signal of intent.

Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

Franz Ferdinand – “Right Action” and “Love Illumination”

“Right Action” is excellent, a buzzing and good-natured sort of not-quite-party-tune with fizzy strings, a slight psychedelic mist to the production and more ‘pop’ than we’ve heard from them before, all the while upholding a Talking Heads-like eccentricity.

“Love Illumination” is also delightful, with its fuzzed-up guitar, Arthur-era Ray Davies vocal, daft Stylophone solo, sassy brass section and piled-up harmonies. We always kind of liked Franz Ferdinand without quite ‘getting’ the fuss; having heard these, consider us fussed.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quaila quail

M.I.A. – “Bring the Noize”

This, Azealia Banks, is how it should be done.

“Bring the Noize” has an annoying title and is loaded with jarring noises – is someone using a creaking door as a percussive instrument? – but M.I.A.’s ‘screwface’ flow and wilful abrasiveness tie it all together as the rug does the room.

M.I.A. might just be the opposite of Taylor Swift, and for that we can only commend her.

Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

Pixies – “Bagboy”

One of history’s most relentlessly thrilling bands return with what might prove to be a sneak preview of another great latter-day album to go with this year’s new releases from, oh, all sorts.

We could talk for hours about how much Pixies have to live up to, so let’s just focus on “Bagboy”; its muscular, emboldened production instantly aligns it with their last album, 1991’s Trompe le Monde, although its stomping march is stompier and marchier than even that album’s stompiest, marchiest moments.

Kim Deal’s latest departure from the band was recenty announced along with confirmation that all her bass lines had been re-recorded by Jeremy Dubs (overdubs? Arf!), so it was a surprise to hear her popping up on backing vocals here.

Except it’s apparently not her but yer man Dubs again. Kudos on a pretty bang-on Deal impression, especially coming from a chap.

Deal’s airy harmonies were missed the moment they were granted less precedence on the otherwise excellent Bossanova album, so the continuation of Pixies without her is no little cause for reservations.

You know what, though? “Bagboy” is an imperious, mean-ass motherf***er of a tune with typically great/inscrutable Black Francis lyric and a video featuring a bathtub full of Fruit Loops.

So maybe Rocksucker should save whatever Pixies-themed lecture we could muster for another article and just get round to the quailing. On this evidence, a new album could be worth the wait after all.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quaila quail

Tune in tomorrow for The Worst of This Week’s Singles!

Artists: , , ,

About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.