The Pixies spend a lot of time in loudQUIETloud: A Film About the Pixies reiterating that they don't dislike each other. But I'm pretty sure they do. They might even hate each other. And they totally just did the reunion tour to make some scratch.
loudQUIETloud follows the Pixies on their 2004 reunion tour, and there's no shortage of idol worship or appreciation. Which is fitting; the Pixies were—and, in some ways, still are—a truly amazing band. loudQUIETloud shows bits of the tour, sure, but it mostly captures the foursome's discomfiting dynamic. For any fan of the Pixies—which is pretty much anybody who matters—the film's required viewing.
Post-breakup, frontman Black Francis/Frank Black/Charles Thompson has spent most of his time getting really fat (a fact driven home by not one but three shots of Black's truly epic man-tits); guitarist Joey Santiago made a family and is working on a documentary; bassist Kim Deal sobered up and got weird; drummer Dave Lovering has fared the worst of the lot, picking up "hobbies" like metal detection and magic. When the Pixies are brought back together (who's pulling these unifying strings is, frustratingly, never revealed), they have such distaste for each other that they barely talk. It's awkward and uncomfortable—until they get onstage, when somehow, the band can still show why they were one of the most influential and beloved bands of... well, ever.
But the focus here is the discomfort between the four. The thoroughly douchebaggy Lovering has no problem popping Valiums and swigging wine, despite Deal's request for no alcohol backstage. Black Francis arrogantly lounges around, and Santiago sequesters himself with his laptop. As stadiums of fawning fans line up and freak out, the Pixies hide in their own little worlds.
The film's unspoken question—how music that brings joy to so many can be played by four miserable people—is never answered. When the Pixies played, from '86 to '93, they enjoyed a modicum of success, but their massive impact wasn't truly felt until after they'd disbanded. Now, back together, the band seems bewildered about all the hype. But then they play a song or four, and things fucking click, and you can't help but hope that maybe—deep down in the reptilian parts of their brains, buried beneath the swells of "Where Is My Mind?" or the bass line of "Debaser"—maybe they know why they're so important, why people still care about the Pixies. Or maybe they don't. Maybe they just want to be left alone.