Beneath the Eyrie
Infectious Music · September 13, 2019
Weaving together elements of chilling and hard-edged content, Beneath the Eyrie is the seventh album to be released by the American alternative-rock band Pixies. The band has released 3 albums in the aftermath of their long-awaited reunion, and fans have waited expectantly for their breakthrough as in years past. As the 12 songs on the album translate to various concepts, here is a look at each song’s respective content.
The album opens with “In the Arms of Mrs. Mark of Cain,” a distinct allusion to historic religious readings. In addition to the band’s signature resonating guitar chords, there is a unique blending of the instrumentals accompanying the hollow vocals. The melodic break enables the guitar to heighten the tension of the song, overall setting a thrilling listen.
Next is the album’s main banger, “On Graveyard Hill.” The grungy tune of the band is prominent, from distorted guitar effects to its dark lyricism. Even so, the oddity of the song is clear. The vocalist’s words of acceptance towards death accompany the drums’ upbeat and interludes of frequent guitar squalls, making it all the more enjoyable listen.
A notable thread that continues throughout the album and makes it even more eccentric is the storytelling, covering troubling aspects of love, personal deaths, or conflicted messages. Vocalist Charles Thompson or “Black Francis,” explains that “Catfish Kate” is based on a fable his father told him of a woman who was attacked by a catfish but emerged from the water victorious, wearing a catfish robe. The quirky tale in harmony with the distinguished bassline and a warped guitar tone brings the single to a solid close.
Then, “This is My Fate” opens with a light, twinkling effect before the snare drum kicks into gear in a four-measure sequence. As each refrain line is accompanied by clacking instrumentals resonating to clean guitar picks, the song depicts a more moody but casual tune, displaying the band’s versatility.
“Ready for Love” is a more straightforward and relaxed track, momentarily diverting to a quick-paced drum fill and ensuing solo jamming out the final measures.
The lead guitar’s individually plucked notes works well to introduce the next song, “Silver Bullet.” The crash cymbal is lightly tapped in the background, building up suspense before all instrumentals launch full force into the song, finally residing to a lull once more. The chilling, eerily out-of-place lyrics somehow connect to the wailing guitar and grave vocals.
“Long Rider” and “Los Surfus Muertos” both pay tribute to bassist Paz Lenchantin’s friend Desiree, who had died in a surfing incident. Even with sorrow laced in the words, they fail to diminish the steady beat of the drum and the guitar trills, encouraging the bravery to encounter risky situations despite knowing of fatal consequences.
“St. Nazaire” reflects a beachy rock n’ roll groove, accompanied by aggressive vocals , referencing inspiration from the Allied Attack, before moving into Scottish mythology. The band’s sporadic tellings throughout each track reflects their consistent interest in fables.
“Bird of Prey” is one of the most seemingly ominous tracks, with notes tingling in timely fashion and the lead’s voice merging with the female background harmonics, setting the album’s grunge style once more. “Death Horizon,” the album’s ending single, gives off a similar vibe, with strumming and nonchalantly sung lyrics.
“Daniel Boone,” which the band clarified is not about the pioneer Daniel Boone, is about Thompson driving to the studio and encountering a deer standing in the middle of the road. He imagines what would have happened had he run it over, inspiring the idea of reincarnation. Themes of death and rebirth are explored in this laidback, slow-paced track.
Despite the arising argument that the band has produced more quality content in the past, the spirit and creativity in the striking lyrics does not appear to have ceased. As all artists’ work, each track has its highs and lows, yet the messages and significant notes are to be appreciated.