The Pixies would never have let their hearts slip so precipitously sleeve-ward. Their frenzy wasn't meant to focus attention on the suffering soul, but to conceal a carefully wrought architecture—a set of formal devices that allowed the band to communicate emotional intensity while guarding it from mawkishness or self-pity. Black, however, managed something more on his own: He found a way to combine formal dexterity with emotional directness and to convey his heartfelt passion for rock 'n' roll itself. And if he manages to carry that new-found conviction into the Pixies' reunion, we just might see a better band than the original Pixies ever got to be.
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