Release Date: Mar 2, 2018
Record label: 4AD
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
All Nerve is probably the most apt title for a Breeders record yet. It summons their zero-fucks-given composure but also doubles as a glimpse of the indelible tenderness evident in some of their best work. As a klaxon call of their return, 'Wait In The Car' undoubtedly leans towards the former fancy. A decade on from their last long player the band reappeared late last year with this absolute ripper.
If you think about it, there is a lot riding on this album. Much of it, at least in the public imagination, boils down to Kim Deal , who already has a sort of burden of proof on her back; if she was going to leave the Pixies , as she did relatively quietly in the summer of 2013, then she'd best have a good reason for it. At the time, it seemed as if she wanted to move on from a band that were hardly bursting at the seams with enthusiasm for new material, and yet that same summer, she was on the road in Europe with the newly-reprised Breeders, revisiting their seminal Last Splash in the top-to-bottom manner that's become so fashionable.
All Nerve, the Breeders' first record since 2008's Mountain Battles, kicks off that cycle anew with a tempting premise: All Nerve reunites the lineup that made Last Splash, certainly the band's biggest, and some would argue best, album. Kim Deal, the sole constant, is re-joined by sister Kelley, bass player Josephine Wiggs and drummer Jim McPherson. And while the results don't match the highest highs of that '90s classic, they certainly live up the band's legacy of consistency in terms of quality, if not quantity. Given the guitar-centric nature of the band and the era that birthed them, the Breeders music has always been as much about withholding sound as it was doling it out.
Returning with their first album in a decade, and this time boasting the classic Last Splash lineup of Kelley and Kim Deal, Josephine Wiggs, and Jim Macpherson for the first recordings since that 1993 album, The Breeders may be laden with the expectations of 40-something, plaid shirted devotees but they approach these 11 songs with both poise and confidence. Lead single "Wait in the Car" hits early, all chug n' churn guitar and a cry of "Good morning!" to welcome us back into their bright, bruised world. Later, "Spacewoman" proves to be one of the most haunting and memorable songs of their career— a slow-burn anthem that kills with its chorus as much as it moves with its verses— "I look up/I'm lonely too.
Veteran bands returning from a long absence have two options: Adapt to the modern musical landscape, or act like the intervening years never happened. With "All Nerve," their first album in 10 years and the first in 25 years with the classic "Last Splash"-era lineup, the Breeders have chosen the latter. Recorded live to tape with Steve Albini (because even their studio setup is a '90s throwback), "All Nerve" finds the Breeders still fascinated by the thin line separating beauty from creepiness, though they explore their pet themes with a purposeful ambition that belies their slacker reputation.