Strange and wonderful punk-influenced rock from The Breeders
I was never a big Pixies fan, though I knew a lot of people who were. I like ‘This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven’ and have it on my iPod, but I was never a big Black Francis fan. The Deal twins, on the other hand, are an entirely different matter. After Francis broke up the band in 1993, Kim Deal got together with Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses and re-formed The Breeders, who had released an album in 1991. The result was the brilliant “Last Splash.” The album went to #33 on the Billboard Charts. One of the album’s 3 singles, ‘Cannonball,’ went to #2 on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart (#44 on the Hot 100) and if you’ve heard one song from the album that is probably it. MTV liked ‘Saints’ for a minute. I remember seeing that video a few times.
The rest of the album is worth listening to. The songs are edgy and sometimes weird, but the guitar work is always cool and the vocals are always appealing. The longest song on the disc is 4:11, but most of them are short and sweet, coming in at under 3 minutes. I ripped 9 songs from that album and still love to hear them whenever the come on.
- Cannonball – This is the coolest track on the album. The weird intro, the irresistible bass line, the feedback – it’s all perfectly placed. Also, watch the video. I want to travel back in time to 1993 and ask Kim Deal if I can have her baby.
- Invisible Man – Power chords and lilting vocals make this track.
- Roi – This is some of the weirdness I was talking about. The guitar is towering and noisy and the vocals are odd. There are several passages of quiet and buzzing guitars. The creativity is impressive but somehow the whole package rocks.
- Do You Love Me Now? – I honestly don’t know which is cooler, the vocal performance of the oddball love song lyrics or the meat grinder guitar work. I love this song.
- Flipside – Two minutes of driving instrumental surfer rock.
- I Just Wanna Get Along – “If you’re so special, why aren’t you dead?” The melody and instrumental parts are relatively simple, and the song is short, but it rocks really hard and the lyrics are funny.
- S.O.S. – It’s only a minute and a half long, but they play the crap out of this one. I love Mando Lopez’ bass work on this track.
- Hag – The lyrical concept and vocal delivery are strange, but the sunny and appealing chord progression overpowers the weirdness and just make it a great pop song.
- Saints – This is clearly The Breeders’ own video, but this is a slightly different version of the song from the one on the album. Both are great, though, so it’s OK. This song has a punk feel to it, but it’s about enjoying going to the fair. “Summer is ready when you are.”
Fans may be surprised I didn’t rip ‘Divine Hammer.’ What can I say? It was never my thing and I heard it too many times. As I went back and listened to this album, though, I realized I may need to dig the CD out of the box in my basement and rip the rest of this album back onto my computer. ‘Drivin’ on 9‘ is a great song that I eventually deleted because I put this song on a bunch of mix CDs (back when I listened to things like that) and heard it hundreds of times. ‘New Year‘ has some fantastic guitar work on it. This is really a strong album from beginning to end with a quirky sound that is hard to imitate. If you missed this in ’93 (or were too young to get into it at the time) go back and check it out. It has aged well and you will be pleasantly surprised at how good the work is throughout.
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