When the ‘Good morning!’ on the album’s first single ‘Wait In The Car’ reaches your ears, it feels like a re-awakening. The Breeders are back with their first album in ten years, and it’s something to celebrate. Given that it’s only the fifth Breeders album in 28 years, it feels like An. Event.
Back in the late 1980s, Pixies bassist Kim Deal set up The Breeders as a side-project with Tanya Donnelly (then of fellow Boston band Throwing Muses) and with the release of 1990’s Pod it was seen as the indie supergroup. By 1993, Donnelly was fronting Belly and the Pixies had split up. The Breeders’ second album Last Splash led by the hit single ‘Cannonball’ saw The Breeders become a big success on their own terms and in their own right. Crucially, it was when Kim’s twin sister Kelley joined the band – and All Nerve sees the twins re-united with the Last Splash rhythm section of bassist Josephine Whiggs and drummer Jim Macpherson for the first time on record since the mid 1990s.
We all know the world has changed in the ten years since The Breeders released their fourth album Mountain Battles (their third album, Title TK was released in 2002), but it’s so damn reassuring to have them back. Sure the links with other bands (and there are a heap to go and enjoy) contributed to coverage – but there remains a distinctive Breeders sound and feel. The undercurrent of menace that never engulfs, the subtlety of sound that makes Steve Albini the perfect person to work with (he first helmed Pod in 1990 and he’s back here on several tracks) and the way that they understand an album needs quality, not quantity – it’s barely more than half an hour long.
Ahead of the album’s release, the tracks released indicated that we were in for a treat. In addition, other highlights are ‘Metagoth,’ ‘Space Woman’ and ‘Dawn: Making An Effort.’ Signed to 4AD – one of the coolest independent labels ever – The Breeders have had deserved commercial success in addition to critical acclaim over the decades. They aren’t necessarily going to appeal to everyone- but that’s the non-listeners’ loss.
Sure, it may have been ten years, but it’s another success. It’s a reminder of why The Breeders are so highly rated, and holds its own against their previous albums and EPs. It’s an album you want to play again before it’s even finished, before revisiting their other albums.
In short: a triumph.
All Nerve is out now on 4AD.