★★★ (out of 5 stars)
The particular combination of legend, expectation and fervent fan attitudes puts the prospect of a new Pixies album after two decades somewhere between mountainous burden and act of lunacy, something perhaps Kim Deal realized too well. But even without her, their mad signature crash of jagged dynamics, outrageous power and melodic oddity is intact enough here to qualify. While lead single “Bagboy” is the most by-the-numbers capture of the Pixies aesthetic, the screeching wildness of “Blue Eyed Hexe” is the closest return to the white heat of their original volcanic brilliance. The album’s overall average is sobered by the curiously straightforward fourth quarter. But this is the Pixies, and what’s fine for mere mortal acts doesn’t quite measure for a band so antonymous with mediocrity.