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By Mark Bell | September 21, 2006

This isn’t a VH1: Behind the Music episode, and it’s also not an exhaustive biography of one of the greatest bands to come out of the 90’s, the Pixies. Instead it is a time-capsule of a moment in time when, about 12 years after abruptly breaking up, the band re-united for a brief “warm-up” tour in an effort to find out if their reunion even had merit anymore.

The answer, as the film shows, is a resounding “yes.” As large venues sell out in minutes, the stage is set for a beloved band to rise to the occasion or trip over themselves. Proving themselves human, they both stumble and astound as band members find their old grooves while attempting to stay clear of the problems that broke them up in the first place.

The film offers many intimate moments of a band in re-build, from the recently rehab-free Kim Deal trying her best to keep it together on the road (and bringing along twin sister Kelley for support) to guitarist Joey Santiago’s attempts at fulfilling a previous obligation to score a film as he tours. The emotional core of the film, however, has more to do with drummer David Lovering’s ebb and flow as he goes from being magician living off of residuals checks to full-time rock icon. It’s a re-birth for David more than anyone, it seems, and amid personal tragedy and the rigors of touring he proves himself to be the most human as he grapples with it all.

The only thing the film doesn’t offer is a full explanation of why the band broke up in the first place or why they decided to get back together. Sure, singer Charles “Black Francis / Frank Black” Thompson does attempt to explain that they broke up because it’s like being around anyone for too long, you grow to hate them for any subtle thing they do (and it’s a general concensus among the band that it was issues between Kim and Charles that killed the band), but you never see Charles or Kim attempt to come to any resolution regarding that situation that, as the documentary plays out, isn’t necessarily gone. As for the reason for the reunion, the ugly answer is “money,” and when David and Joey are both straightforward about being strapped for cash, it doesn’t really seem like they got back together for any other reason. As a fan, you want there to be a bigger reason.

At the same time, like Lloyd Dobler taking back Diane at the end of Say Anything, it doesn’t really matter. The Pixies are back together, the music is as unbelievable as ever and what more could you ask for? Oh, whether they’ll record new music? Yeah, no comment.

>>> See what Pixies band members Joey Santiago and David Lovering had to say about the film after the premiere at the 2006 SXSW Film Festival: loudQUIETloud Q & A with the Pixies

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