Should It Stay or Should It Go?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

This Just In

Artist: The Breeders
Album: Mountain Battles
Source: Promo

It's hard not to have conflicted feelings about the Breeders at this point. On the one hand: well, this is Kim from the Pixies. And on that count alone, what's not to love?

But on the other end: this is a Breeders record, and that means its own thing, too. Pod and Last Splash are two primo, intoxicating examples of everything that was right and wonderful about "college rock" (in the era of Pod) and "alternative rock" (by the time Last Splash splashed down). By the time Title TK and this new one, Mountain Battles, came along...well, it was stilled called the Breeders, but now it was a different thing. Kim had gone through a long bout with her many demons, and it was not a clear victory on either end. She was still here and had a guitar in her hands, but clearly the demons had put some points on the board.

So despite my everloving allegiance to all things Pixies, I'd been satisfied to have this new one "only" as digital files. Because, truth be told, it's good but not great. And more than that, it sounds a bit beaten-down, lacking the triumphant roll of "Cannonball" or even the cocksure allure of "Iris."

Mountain Battles made it to The Beast anyway, courtesy of a promo copy Lee's wife, Jenn, got from work. And so now I have Kim's latest batch of draggy, druggy tunes on the stereo instead of just the iPod. I wish I could love it in a big way, but instead I'm hanging onto the small things that are there to like: the minimal thwak of "Bang On," the stoned repetition of "Overglazed," the nearly-old-school rocking on "Walk It Off," and the general ability of Kim Deal's voice and songwriting style to get under my skin. And that's enough, I suppose, to make the disc an unconflicted minor pleasure.

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