Earlier this year, record label 4AD announced the long awaited release of The Breeders‘ fifth album ‘All Nerve’, out on 2nd March. It’s an album five years in the making, with work beginning after a string of shows to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their second album ‘Last Splash’. Since this is their first album release in 10 years, and marks the reunion of the ‘Last Splash’ lineup of Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs, and Jim MacPherson, we got a little nostalgic here at Bloggers Gamut and decided to listen back through the bands discography to decide which of their four albums to date is our favourite. Without further ado, here’s our run-down starting with…

 

4. ‘Title TK’ (2002)

 

Ending a 9 year hiatus, The Breeders came back in 2002 with ‘Title TK’, a tuneful yet melancholy and skeletal album at odds with their previous work. It drifts between different tones seemingly on a track by track basis, a little unsettled and unsure of itself, yet there are moments here of brooding which are reminiscent of early work by PJ Harvey; in the dark punk sounds of ‘Little Fury’ and ‘Son Of Three’, and in the soft ballad ‘Off You’. On release, critics weren’t as enthralled with ‘Title TK’ as they had been with previous album ‘Last Splash’, lamenting the albums lack of creative flare and citing an unoriginal re-recording of ‘Full On Idle’ (originally recorded by Kim Deal’s other side project The Amps) as evidence of this. Retrospective listeners, however, have noted that ‘Title TK’ works more under the pretext of a concept album; a record about the absence of things, or about losing things and making do in order to move forward.

 

3. ‘Mountain Battles’ (2008)

 

Another gap followed the release of ‘Title TK’ before The Breeders were ready to release their most recent album ‘Mountain Battles’. With a more stable lineup this time around, ‘Mountain Battles’ sees progression from ‘Title TK’ in terms of attitude; it’s more optimistic, defiantly so, and finds the band willing to return to throwing in tracks from left field. ‘Istanbul’ is an understated eastern-style chant, while ‘Regalame Este Noche’ provides a hint of Spanish slow-dance to the proceedings. Although it takes a little time to warm up, ‘Mountain Battles’ is a largely successful return to the spiky, inventive sound The Breeder‘s had used so effectively during their earlier years.

 

2. ‘Pod’ (1990)

 

Back in 1989, and with tension mounting in the Pixies between Kim Deal and Black Francis, The Breeders‘ first demo’s were recorded between Kim and Throwing Muse‘s Tanya Donnelly after they met while touring together in their respective bands. This would lead to the release of debut album ‘Pod’ in 1990, an album which would receive critical acclaim from the music press. It’s rough, visceral, owing largely down to the simplistic production which allows the attitude with which the band play their instruments to carry through the record. No where is this more apparent than on the incredibly original interpretation of The Beatles‘ ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’, a track injected with attitude here. The true strength of this album is in listening to it as a collective whole, as each song lends something to the experience. Their best was yet to come however…

 

1.  ‘Last Splash’ (1993)

 

What else? The Breeders‘ quintessential 1993 album ‘Last Splash’ followed on from the warped and jagged ‘Pod’ by throwing caution to the wind, producing an erratic, distorted, and yet intensely textured masterpiece of 90’s alt-rock. The results of their almost sarcastic jab at the crossover between chart success and the alt-rock/grunge movement landed Kim and the band with unexpected commercial success; ‘Last Splash’ would eventually go platinum in the United States, and lead single ‘Cannonball’ filled dance floor’s up and down the country. While ‘Cannonball’ is still their most recognisable song, ‘Last Splash’ delivers throughout, taking a number of detours along the way; ‘Invisible Man’, with it’s grinding, hazy guitar hooks and string arrangement; ‘Do You Love Me Now?’, with it’s brooding, chugging guitar in ode to feeling lovesick; and ‘Flipside’, a sub 2 minute instrumental blast of sheer joy, with a playful guitar line and copious amounts of cymbal smashing. ‘Last Splash’ presents The Breeders at their best; inventive, eccentric, effortlessly cool, and full of a vigour lost among the grunge crossover bands of the early 90’s.

 

Where will ‘All Nerve’ land on this list? We’re excited to find out!

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