The Pixies’ first collection of new music in over two decades, last year’s EP1, felt more like a puddle of disappointment than the wave of mutilation fans had anticipated. It was hard to dismiss that initial offering in a planned series of short-form releases as simply a throat-clearing exercise, given that the band has been on the reunion tour circuit since 2004. EP2 isn’t just better by comparison—it’s a solid entry in the Pixies canon, thanks to the grungy yet atmospheric “Magdalena” and the EP’s centerpiece, “Greens and Blues,” which is basically a master class in alt-rock songwriting. Frontman/guitarist/principal songwriter Frank Black created the template for bands like Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins back in the late 1980s, but with “Greens and Blues” you can hear how his influence extended right through to Matchbox 20 and Coldplay. While EP2 is sometimes lacking lyrically (“Snakes are coming to your town / In tunnels underground”), it does boast one of the band’s most fun-sounding experiments: Leadoff track “Blue Eyed Hexe” clangs along on an early-’80s Def Leppard–style cowbell before channeling AC/DC for the final screechy verse. EP2 isn’t exactly classic Pixies, but it’s a major step in the right direction.
Playlist picks: “Greens and Blues,” “Magdalena”
Pixies play Massey Hall (178 Victoria St.) on Jan 15.