Breeders: Mountain Battles
Messing about playing daydreamy semi-tunes. Sounding quite a bit like Yes. Singing not-very-happy lyrics about local government. That’s what happens when you’re the alterno-rock Kim Jong-Il. Yes, that’s what happens when you’re Kim Deal. No one’s denying Miss Dayton, Ohio, her coolest-woman-in-rock status. After all, she had to play second fiddle to a walking ego,in a band that influenced a ton of millionaire musicians, but whose payday was deferred until years after their poisonous split via the galling medium of the reunion tour.
But when Kurt Cobain cites your band’s debut (1990’s‘Pod’) as one of his very, very favourites; you’ve written an always-on-the-decks indie night classic(‘Cannonball’) and boys in bands constantly name check you as the only female musician they’d ever want to be(gee, THANKS guys)… Well, it renders you bullet-proof. Above criticism. Sometimes a bit complacent. So just as North Korea’s unelected ‘Dear Leader’ indulges his whims - luxury cars, slasher films, the world’s scariest nuclear arsenal – without a peep of criticism, the Breeder-in-chief has done the same,clogging up ‘Mountain Battles’ with too many half-formed, demo-ish experiments. For every full-blown rockout (‘It’s The Love’), chunk of riff-driven lo-fi raunch punk (‘No Way’) or sweet,50s-inflected ballad (‘Regelame Este Noche’), there’s a weary ‘Istanbul’, a bleary ‘Overglazed’ or an indifferent ‘Spark’. While this stuff’s not will fully obscure enough to actually dislike, it fetters thenalbum’s energy, making it a fire that sputters frequently but fails to ignite. Still, you’ll buy/illegally download this anyway, because, well,it’s Kim Deal, isn’t it? And because when it’s good –or even when it’s not that good - it’s still better than 99 per cent of everything out there. Can’t say we blame you, either.