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The Breeders - All Nerve (Album Review)

Thursday, 22 March 2018 Written by Ben Gallivan

Photo: Marisa Gesualdi

It takes a short while to get your head around the new album from the Breeders as it sounds like something very familiar. After multiple listens, it turns out that the answer is…the Breeders. ‘All Nerve’ sounds just like the Breeders.

Now completely extricated from Pixies (whose reformation has now doubled the length of their original run), Kim Deal has again joined forces with the same line-up that recorded the 1993 album ‘Last Splash’: her twin sister Kelley, bassist Josephine Wiggs and drummer Jim MacPherson.

‘Last Splash’ was a deserved hit, riding the coattails of lead single Cannonball to the upper echelons of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The album, though, was chock full of tunes – many of which were very much of their time – and it became one of the defining alternative records of the ‘90s.

To have Kim and Kelley backed up again by the joint-orchestrators of their finest work to date is great news. It sounds and feels good in equal measure.

The structure of ‘All Nerve’ is similar to ‘Last Splash’ too. It’s a mixture of the energetic and forlorn that suits the Deals’ harmonies perfectly. Wiggs’ basslines, meanwhile, recall Deal’s work with Pixies in both style and tone. They often steal the show, especially during quieter moments.

The record starts with a few quick-fire numbers (anything approaching four minutes is given a stern talking to) and it is an opening salvo to be envied. Wait in the Car crams so much into its two minutes that you’d be forgiven for thinking it was at least three times that long. MetaGoth is ‘Trompe Le Monde’, Roswell-worrying era Pixies – complete with a thumping, menacing bassline and wailing feedback.

Spacewoman recalls the shoestring budget indie that produced their first album, ‘Pod’, but it’s an obscure cover of Krautrock legends Amon Düül II’s Archangel’s Thunderbird that brightens up the midpoint of the record. In fact, it might be the best thing on here. Of the closing trio, it’s Skinhead #2 that ticks all the boxes.

There may be no Cannonball here – not even a No Aloha, in fact – but as a package, ‘All Nerve’ is a winner. In truth, the Breeders have never put out a bad record, but this one seems to have come at just the right time. It’s not a comeback album, exactly, but it is a breath of fresh air that nobody really expected.

The Breeders Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sun May 27 2018 - DUBLIN Vicar Street
Mon May 28 2018 - EDINBURGH Liquid Room
Tue May 29 2018 - LEEDS Stylus
Wed May 30 2018 - LONDON Roundhouse
Tue July 10 2018 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Wed July 11 2018 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute
Fri July 13 2018 - MANCHESTER O2 Ritz

Click here to compare & buy The Breeders Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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