Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Breeders

  • Pod [4AD, 1990] Neither
  • Safari [4AD/Elektra, 1992] A-
  • Last Splash [4AD/Elektra, 1993] A-
  • Title TK [4AD/Elektra, 2002] A-
  • All Nerve [4AD, 2018] *

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Pod [4AD, 1990] Neither

Safari [4AD/Elektra, 1992]
Now posing as a major-label debut, Kim Deal and Tanya Donelly's 1990 Rough Trade one-off Pod still sounds like the art project it was, but although Donnelly is otherwise occupied, this 1992 EP sounds like a band. Postamateur Raincoats, say. They substitute the Who's "So Sad About Us" for the Kinks' "Lola" because they're less arch and less soft. But they're lovers not fighters nonetheless. A-

Last Splash [4AD/Elektra, 1993]
Kim Deal can't sing and neither can Kelley--not with force, anyway. But what the hey. Unabashed models of feminine weakness, they murmur, they chant, they make a pass at harmonizing, thus revealing the once-ominous tunings of sonic youths everywhere for the benign art-school move they are. No way are these songs "pop"--they won't make little children smile or Mom pat her foot. But their sweetness is no less certain for that, and considerably rarer. A-

Title TK [4AD/Elektra, 2002]
Skeletal, fragmented, stumblebum, Kim and Kelley retain their knack for righting themselves with a tuneburst just when you thought they'd never do the limbo again, and they've been away so long they still think alt is a sloppy lifestyle rather than an embattled ethos. Through the imagistic baffle of their lyrics, they leave the impression that they subsist off their modest royalties, scattered gig fees, and compromised advances--mostly on beer. A-

All Nerve [4AD, 2018]
Sisters in stick-to-itiveness address or at least mention black lung, Edgar Allan Poe, and heroin use in and around the Parthenon ("Blues at the Acropolis," "Nervous Mary") *