The last few days have seen some long-thought unlikely musical occurrences finally coalesce into reality. Last week, art rock diva Kate Bush announced she would break her 35-year-long absence from touring by holding a 15-date residency at London’s Eventim Apollo starting this August. Similarly, alt-rock icons the Pixies announced days later that long-mooted plans for a post-reunion album would finally be realized next month with the release of Indie Cindy.
Though these developments are surprising, they are not completely out of bounds of reason, like, say, a Smiths reunion. Even though she has not embarked on a proper tour since a grueling six-week jaunt in 1979, Kate Bush has never been averse to live performance in of itself, having undertaken the odd one-off gig here and there since then. As for the Pixies, word has been that the band has tried to release more new material since reconvening ten years ago, with bassist Kim Deal being the primary hold-out against the notion. Since she exited the group last year, two EPs of brand-new Pixies material have been issued in quick succession; the subsequent unveiling of an full album was only logical.
Once the shock of these announcements wears off, the question of whether or not these folks can deliver on the promise raised by their past creative triumphs arises. In their own ways both artists have mystiques to maintain. The four currently extant Pixies studio albums possess a hallowed status in the alt-rock world, having influenced at least two generations of musicians. In contrast, the two new Deal-less Pixies EPs have received very mixed critical responses; even if one tries to gloss over them by subscribing to an “only LPs count” mindset, Indie Cindy will in actuality draw its contents from those recent releases. Even with some of the songs slated to appear on Indie Cindy yet to be heard, it’s likely they will bear more similarity to the newer EPs than to Trompe le Monde (1991), the last Pixies album released before their breakup — it’s just been too long since the band’s creative peak. In Bush’s case, though there’s less question that she can deliver musically, the 55-year-old will doubtedly engage in the strenuous physical routines she wowed audiences with back in 1979. No, whatever concertgoers will see starting in August, it will have to be a departure from the established conception of what a Kate Bush concert was like. In either case, whether the final results will reaffirm people’s faith or sully fond memories, we’ll ultimately have to make peace with whatever these revered figures bring to the table in the near future.