Joining the ranks of Guns N’ Roses and My Bloody Valentine, Pixies have consecrated their place among the most leisurely recording bands. Although, like those groups, they’ve toured relentlessly over the past decade, their release today of the new song “Bagboy” (downloadable here) marks their first recorded output since “Bam Thwok” in June 2004. And like one of those aforementioned bands, it comes on the heels of some confusing lineup changes, since the group announced bassist Kim Deal, who has been touring heartily with the Breeders as of late, was leaving the band two weeks ago.
But despite all this, it’s refreshing to hear vocalist-guitarist Black Francis, lead six-string flailer Joey Santiago and drummer Dave Lovering — and a voice that sure sounds a lot like Deal — playing in concert once again. “Bagboy” finds Santiago allowing his guitar to warmly feed back and whine as Francis sing-speaks between non-sequitur gang vocals saying “polish your teeth / alter your breath.” Then there’s the feminine Deal-like “gigantic” backing vocals over which Francis shouts the song title. It all adds up to a song that’s surprisingly funky and unsurprisingly catchy.
“The lyrics, coincidentally, were composed at a Starbucks Coffee in Harvard Square in Cambridge, about a hundred feet from where, 25 years ago, I composed some of the lyrics to an old Pixies song called ’Break My Body,'” Francis said in a statement. “The music for the song has been around for a few years. There are some demos I made with Joey and David a few years ago in Los Angeles, related to a film idea that still has yet to see the light of day, although work on the music continued. So a lot of the musical idea had been kicking around for awhile. It’s pretty simple, kind of a blues-based, two-note kind of thing, really.”
The group ended up recording the song in October 2012 in Wales with producer Gil Norton. Since clearly patience is not an issue with Pixies, let’s just hope that we’ll hear from them again before the next decade.