Head Carrier

Pixies - Head Carrier
Critic Score
Based on 28 reviews
2016 Ratings: #829 / 879
User Score
Based on 120 ratings
2016 Ratings: #770
Liked by 1 person
September 30, 2016 / Release Date
LP / Format
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American Songwriter

Head Carrier is trusty yet imaginative without pretense, bursting with newfound self-assuredness bolstered by decades of experience.


In a cleaner, more mature, concerned-about-its-blood-pressure manner, ‘Head Carrier’ revisits Pixies’ prime, primal age, melodically pumped and squaring up confidently to its admittedly formidable forebears.


While it feels like Pixies are still figuring out how to continue their legacy, Head Carrier's best moments suggest they're heading in the right direction.


With this return, they bring a breath of fresh air into modern rock music ... All in all, Head Carrier is a collection of lessons, experiences, sounds that exemplify the essence of fun rock ’n’ roll.

No Ripcord

It’s not Pixies as you’d like to remember them, but for the first time in years it sounds as if they’re actually enjoying themselves. It’s a beefy and assured, though slightly indifferent, response to those who continue to assume they could ever meet their lofty expectations.

The Skinny

There’s not enough adventure to make this truly feel like Pixies; it lacks the sense that the wheels might come off any minute.

Loud and Quiet

‘Head Carrier’ pulls together the group’s experiments with surf pop, country, hard rock and noise to create an album that is something approaching a greatest hits, at least in stylistic terms.

Slant Magazine

It consists mainly of entirely competent, if predictable, rock music made by seasoned but complacent-sounding rockers. Thus, enjoying Head Carrier is mostly a matter of managing expectations.

Rolling Stone

The follow-up is looser and less burdened by the past. Joey Santiago's guitar is as melodic and muscular as ever, while Black Francis showcases his throaty assault on "Baal's Back."


Their past is a double-edged sword, but that doesn’t prevent ‘Head Carrier’ from having its own unique strengths.


While it may not be a record to inspire the generations as their previous work did, there’s enough evidence that some of that old spark is still flickering.


Where so many of their reformed contemporaries re-hash and revive Pixies deserve credit for producing a bona fide continuation to their career, and though ‘Head Carrier’ is far from triumphant, it’s by no means a failure.

Consequence of Sound

There’s still more Cindy than Surfer Rosa here, but it seems like they’re now inching towards being the best version of today’s Pixies rather than a diluted version of yesterday’s — a welcome step.


While not as egregiously baffling as Indie Cindy, the latest from the ’90s indie icons is nonetheless a middling effort missing all kinds of dynamics the Pixies used to offer.

Drowned in Sound

While Head Carrier may right some of the wrongs of Indie Cindy, it still remains a distinctly average affair from a band once considered the best band on the planet. Too often this sounds like a younger band's best impression of Pixies, or worse, a parody of themselves.

The Line of Best Fit

If the wandering hodgepodge of 2014’s Indie Cindy hinted at the band’s final metamorphosis as a mostly by-numbers proposition, Head Carrier essentially – sadly – confirms it.


With the exception of steely Joey Santiago's riffs, the album feels dulled down, even if all the requisite component Pixies parts are there.

A.V. Club

Head Carrier won’t anger hardcore fans—it’s too breezy for that—but it’s also not likely to excite them. It feels more like the document of a band that’s rediscovered and redefined itself, because even when the songs don’t resonate they still exude a confidence and purposefulness.

The Guardian

In their latterday output they have seemed either unwilling or unable to summon up the sort of oddball energy that made them such a bewildering and brilliant prospect in the first place.

Under The Radar

Songs stray so far from the raw energy of Surfer Rosa that Head Carrier could easily be mistaken for any number of hair-product soaked '80s metal, inhabiting, at least musically, all of the grotesque trends Pixies originally bucked.

Tiny Mix Tapes

Musically, there are too many things going on and too few things going on. Every track sounds more or less the same, and every track sounds like a poor heyday tribute.

I think this is a step up from their previous effort but it unfortunately still feels like the magic is gone.

Best Track: All I Think About Now
Worst Track: Um Chagga Lagga
LasagnaZissou Review #51

1987 Pixies: Where Is My Mind?

2016 Pixies: Um Chagga Lagga

This speaks volumes.
At least head Carrier contains some songs i enjoy but it still feels empty and hallow of want the Pixies once was.

Track Review

Head Carrier 6/10
Classic Masher 6/10
Baal's Back 5/10
Might as Well Be Gone 5.5/10
Oona 6/10
Talent 6.5/10
Tenement Song 6.5/10
Bel Esprit 5/10
All I Think About Now 7/10
Um Chagga Lagga 4.5/10
Plaster of Paris 5/10
All the Saints 4/10

Average: 5.6/10
Not to memorable but its the pixies always gonna be ok.
Head Carrier carries some of the dead weight of Indie Cindy along with it, but seems to cozy in to its sound as a long-time follow up to their previous work.

One benefit of Head Carrier is a little bit more personality flowing from it than their previous effort, along with the additional performing efforts from replacement Paz, who brings an additional life to Pixies softened more generic sound. Black struggles to carry the weight of the vocal performance in todays Pixies, and Paz taking on ... read more
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Year End Lists

#25/God Is In The TV

Track List

  1. Head Carrier
  2. Classic Masher
  3. Baal's Back
  4. Might as Well Be Gone
  5. Oona
  6. Talent
  7. Tenement Song
  8. Bel Esprit
  9. All I Think About Now
  10. Um Chagga Lagga
  11. Plaster of Paris
  12. All the Saints
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Added on: July 6, 2016