Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Last Splash revisited

For a long time The Last Splash was the Breeders album I had the most difficulty with but now it seems much easier to like. Of course it contains most of the band's most iconic tracks - Cannonball, No Aloha, Invisible Man, Do You Love Me Now? etc. but the recently released 20th anniversary edition (remastered album plus two bonus discs) is a rare case of where one of these re-releases has enhanced my appreciation of a record.

It sheds light on this exciting period for the band but also makes one mourn the band's lost years (late 1994 to 2002) when it looked as though The Last Splash could be their swansong. It preceded a sadly all too familiar tale of addiction, excess and burnout that derailed the band.

Kim Deal's next outfit, The Amps, proved to be shortlived. Their 1995 release Pacer fell somewhere between a Kim Deal solo album and a third Breeders LP. Two of the tracks on Pacer have also been recorded under The Breeders banner - Hoverin' was a 1992 B-side and a revamped 'Full on Idle' later became a track on Title TK in 2002.

With all the momentum they had it's a shame they imploded. They blew their big moment and seem destined to remain associated with the 1990s alt rock scene - something the Last Splash reissue seems to embrace. Perhaps this early lapse has worked out okay in the long run. Seeing them play at The Ritz in Manchester last week it seems they can now truly enjoy the success of the album. One of the things I love about The Breeders is their longevity, if not their productivity. If their lengthy periods of inactivity have been frustrating at times for fans like me, who dote on their every recording, the band has occasionally rewarded its patient followers. Their most recent LP (2008's superb Mountain Battles) was for me their best yet, fulfilling all the promise of their first three albums. As for the band's future, it's hard to know what to expect but I hope it holds something more than reunion shows in store. Kim Deal seems pretty cynical about the record insdustry in interviews, having self released The Breeders' Fate to Fatal EP in 2009 and now seems to be putting out solo recordings via her website. Thankfully she finally seems to have called it a day on the ludicrously extended Pixies reunion.

It's wonderful to see The Breeders touring again. To celebrate this all too rare occurence I'm posting my top 10 tracks by Kim Deal and co.

1. We're Gonna Rise (from Mountain Battles LP)

2. Safari (from 1992 Safari EP)

3. Metal Man (from Pod LP)

4. Here No More (from Mountain Battles LP)

5. Fortunately Gone (from Pod LP)

6. Saints (from The Last Splash LP)

7. Forced to Drive (from Title TK LP)

8. Night of Joy (from Mountain Battles LP)

9. 900 (Cannonball B-Side)

10. Off You (from Title TK LP)

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