Beneath The EyrieProduced by Tom Dalgety Label: BMG Released: 09.13.19 Review by Sarah Madden | September 12, 2019 at 6:00 PM
“Here in the valley that we all know a river bend that’s deep and slow / Where every creature drinks their fill and other creatures take their kill”
The Pixies’ long music history isn’t proliferated by albums, the latest, Beneath the Eyrie, makes just seven. The newest edition to this small but outstandingly influential discography is a cohesive collection of songs with tales of witches, misfits, Daniel Boone, and the fates of fisher-women woven together to create a creepy weird wonderland.
Between recording sessions, drummer David Lovering spotted an eagle’s nest in a tree outside the studio and the title of the album was birthed. After listening, the title makes more and more sense if you pronounce the last word “eyrie” as “eerie” because the songs jauntily tramp through an eerie psychedelic landscape.
The first single from the record “On Graveyard Hill” invites listeners to come play around in the dark imagination of the band’s main lyricist Black Francis. The rest of the album makes sure they’ll want to stay. The band began recording at Dreamland Studios near Woodstock, New York in December of 2018 with producer Tom Dalgety. It could be said that the album is a story so well told due to it being the second with both Dalgety and bassist Paz Lenchantin. The band is more than happy for fans to find out for themselves just how the enchantment of a Pixies album brews, as the in-depth play by play of recording Beneath the Eyrie is laid out for all to hear on “It’s a Pixies Podcast”.
For an album of twelve songs to not have a “best song” is an unusual feat, The Pixies have done it though. Each song both stands alone as its own musically delicious dish and adds to the album as a feast, balanced by another song on the album. Where “Los Surfers Muertos” is a dark ferry ride across the river Styx, “Daniel Boone” sounds almost sanctified in its loveliness.
The beauty of The Pixies is that you need not read too much into anything. As much as the album can sound like one of my many favorite Hieronymus Bosch paintings, the individual elements are not purposefully symbolically placed—they just are. No need to ask “what does it mean?” That’s what’s great about it, you don’t need to know.
Stream it, Buy it, or Skip it?: Buy it! A worthy addition to a well-curated record collection