Written and demoed during the Pixies’ creatively inert reunion tour, Mountain Battles, the Breeders’ second album since 1993, gives the impression that Kim Deal would rather do anything than write big, melodic bass-dominating alt rock. Not that you can blame her for wanting to reassert her artistic integrity – playing for fat paycheques with people whose company you don’t particularly enjoy will have that effect. The end product, however, is an album easy to admire yet tough to love.
Psychedelic opener Overglazed is an echoing two minutes of Deal repeating “I can feel it” with an impressive display of lyrical minimalism, followed by the bizarre nursery-rhyme-like Bang On, where Deal again repeats a single sad line: “I love no one and no one loves me.” Between other oddities like German Studies (sung in German) and Regalame Esta Noche (sung in Spanish), there are a few Last Splash moments as on Walk It Off and We’re Gonna Rise. Definitely a record on Deal’s own terms.