The Breeders
All Nerve


3.0
good

Review

by butcherboy CONTRIBUTOR (114 Reviews)
March 5th, 2018 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: the splash before last..

Hindsight’s been kind to Kim Deal’s legacy. By the time the Pixies first imploded in 1993, indie had become a radio stronghold, and she was no longer the bassist of a scrappy cult band, but a part of something that has become far bigger than the sum of its parts. The Breeders’ Last Splash, released that same year, was able to reap the benefits of all she had helped build, going platinum and solidifying her place in the genre’s ‘casual’ pantheon. Her playing such a critical role in one of underground’s most important bands, one that would go on to seep its way into the work of countless radio giants to come, means that there’s nary a dialogue about Deal that doesn’t involve a Pixies or Black Francis mention, and this review is obviously no different. It still takes less than three entries in pretty well any comment section of a Pixies show post-2013 before her name is summoned. A part of that of course is that the Breeders never really managed to eclipse or usurp the Pixies quality-wise (at least back then).

It’s been close to a decade now since the Breeders last put out new material, and unlike 2008’s Mountain Battles, which came at the peak of indie revivalism, All Nerve arrives into a whole different fold, both radio music and the DIY niche seemingly further away from guitars that they’ve ever been. Edging back in a band that still sticks to the four-piece rock formation, with only a few keys to round off some songs, to any kind of relevance was always going to be a rough go, cult member status or not.

The strongholds of All Nerve lie in that it manages to preserve the Breeders’ sound, in ways that don’t feel forced or phoned-in, that hyper-sensuous mild fuzz sliced up with smooth surf guitars is fully intact across the LP’s run. And Deal’s voice is in top form, still that odd and endlessly pleasing twist of rock and 90’s RnB. She guides the record with the same precocious, slightly elbowy confidence that had once made her a vixen of the scene.

The album’s bug is that its consistency isn’t anchored by anything that truly soars from the ground. Albini’s mixing can do little for a collection of songs that rarely climb out of mid-tempo, aside from lending more clarity to what was already pretty clear to begin with; and his name seems to figure as little more than endorsement for the record, much like the barely distinguishable Courtney Barnett backing vox cameo on “Howl at the Summit.” What’s more is that nearly two-thirds of All Nerve’s songs end on an abrupt irresolute stop, a stylistic quirk that in the right moment, can really set off a tune, teasing and frustrating the listener and ultimately making him return to the song. But when it happens to three cuts in a row, like the album’s opening salvo, it starts to feel more like a cloaking device for something that just has nowhere to go. Still, it makes the songs that do follow through to a fade-out resolve, like the playfully rambunctious “Archangel’s Thunderbird” or the honeyed chug of “MetaGoth” all the more complete.

In the end, All Nerve is not an inherently weak record, nor does it feel nearly as limp or self-parodying as most reunion efforts that have come forth from the indie behemoths of old in recent years. Deal’s songwriting and modus are so polished and established by now, that there are enough natural fail-safes here to prevent any glaring gaff. But like so many of these homecomings, at its boldest, highest point, the most it musters is making you want to go back to the band’s heyday.



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user ratings (39)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
BlownSpeakers (3.5)
With repeated listens, the latest from the Deal sisters and co. becomes a gloomy beast of a record....

related reviews

Last Splash

POD

Comments:Add a Comment 
butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2018


8105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

there we go.. for Fripp's review comp, and my first 2018 release review..

Digging: Children's Hour - Looking for the Sun

DoofusWainwright
March 5th 2018


19894 Comments


Effective review, though you can tell you were a little uninspired by the album in question.

Tbh I was never that amazed by 'Last Splash' either, so this is one I could easily skip.

Digging: The The - Infected

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2018


8105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

cheers, Doof.. yea, true enough, tepidness all around here

SandwichBubble
March 5th 2018


6756 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

3.0 band from the start, can't say I'd expect any different with this one

Digging: Alvarius B. - Alvarius B. (1994)

grannypantys
March 5th 2018


1908 Comments


Kind of bummer this album is so mediocre

I guess I'll skip the tour

Divaman
March 5th 2018


2329 Comments


I always kind of felt meh about these guys, even back in the day. I think your review does a good job of catching this spirit of meh.

Digging: Beach House - 7

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2018


8105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i like last splash quite a bit.. but yes, their past three albums have all ranged from 3 to 3.5..

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2018


8105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

new Guided by Voices is about to drop though!!



something else for Sandwich to hate on, breaking my heart in the process..

SandwichBubble
March 5th 2018


6756 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

2018 is just an endless well of 2.5s so far, it's really breaking my heart.



I can't believe there's a cover of Archangel's Thunderbird on this.

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2018


8105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

don't be a grouch, Sandwich.. aside from whatever competent boredom Parquet Courts pump out, this is the hardest-working 3 of the year..

SandwichBubble
March 5th 2018


6756 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I've been grouchy all week, and goddamn it, I'm gonna let all of you know it!

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2018


8105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^every radio metal song in a nutshell..

Dewinged
March 5th 2018


10040 Comments


Hey you gave Anna Von a 3.5, Sandwich, not too bad!

Sweet review butch! Have this downloaded but haven't checked it yet. Didn't even know they were Kim Deal's band.

Digging: Mourn (SPA) - Sorpresa Familia

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2018


8105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think I'm going to give Anna Von a 3.5 as well.. some of the vocals there don't hit me right, but when she starts yelping and howling, it hits me in all the perfect ways, and the instrumentals are fantastic!!

SandwichBubble
March 5th 2018


6756 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@Dewinged yeah, and I 3.5'd that Shame album I missed earlier this year. 2018 ain't all bad, I guess.

Dewinged
March 5th 2018


10040 Comments


@Butch Fair enough! She owns the yelping and howling indeed haha

mvdu
March 6th 2018


754 Comments


I was a little unimpressed also. But I don't know their past stuff well. Perhaps it is more inspired?

ArtBox
March 7th 2018


254 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is going in one ear and out the other but it's pleasant enough.

ArtBox
March 9th 2018


254 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Jamming Dream Wife after this kinda dampened this album though

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 9th 2018


8105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hahaha, that'll happen..



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