Feb 22 2022

Album Review: The Breeders – Last Splash (#MWE)

This has been well documented elsewhere, but the 1990s were a great time for music and music lovers, particularly for fans of rock music. Pockets were deep, and labels were flush with extra cash to spend on more experimental acts and new sounds. Back when “alternative” meant something a bit more substantial than a slightly off-kilter but still homogenous radio format, you never knew what you might hear (or see on 120 Minutes) next.

The Breeders, PIxies bassist Kim Deal’s side project turned main outfit, were a significant band in this era, and they did their part to keep heads turning with their landmark album Last Splash. Deal and her twin sister Kelley were not afraid to mix things up in the studio, incorporating unusual instrumentation and playing with genre. The result is 40 minutes of genuinely thrilling alt-rock.

“Cannonball,” of course is the biggest track here, a start-stop, quiet-loud wallop of distortion, gliding bass lines and infectious melody. It’s easily one of the greatest songs from its moment in rock music. After the sturdy violin accompaniment on “Invisible Man,” we are treated to a dabbling of surf music on “No Aloha,” followed by the psychedelic “Roi.” Each dalliance is supported by strong hooks, and no song is long enough to wear out its welcome. The band’s live energy shines through on instrumental interlude “Flipside”; elsewhere, “I Just Wanna Get Along” is spoken-word pop punk, while twangy Ed’s Redeeming Qualities cover “Drivin’ on 9” hints at the Deal twins childhood love of The Everly Brothers.

The dynamic twins Kim and Kelley Deal, who had been making music together since they were kids, brought all their chops they honed in Dayton, Ohio, to The Breeders, and the band is now known as one of the best of all time. And their classic album, Last Splash, is still a guitar-heavy wonder to behold.

Score: 8/10