After many iterations, hiatuses and returns, The Breeders will always be Kim Deal’s band, with her sister Kelley at her side. But they return this year to an old lineup, with all the promise (and old wounds) it brings. The same group behind the band’s breakout, 1993 Last Splash — a sugar-smacked, alt-pop album that sounded like nothing else in the underground pushed to rock radio — just released All Nerve in March. Now Bassist Josephine Wiggs and drummer Jim Macpherson join Kim and Kelley Deal for this Tiny Desk Concert.
“Somehow, between the four of us getting in the basement [and] playing together again, it all just felt exactly the same as the good times before everything,” Kelley Deal told NPR. “It was just really fun.”
And you can see that renewed love and goofiness throughout this set — using a roadie as a hi-hat, or Kim Deal’s faux-exasperation at Wiggs for starting a wind-up toy just before a song.
The new songs don’t have the same punch as Last Splash; rather, they are wizened, frazzled and, with a generous mix of crunch and dreamy scuzz, explore themes of encroaching isolation and dissatisfaction. The Breeders play two songs from All Nerve — the lysergic “MetaGoth” and the gorgeously strange and sweet title track — plus “Off You” from 2002’s Title TK, an excellent album worth revisiting if you haven’t listened in a while. It’s a reminder that, while you can hear the raw charm of The Breeders in younger bands, no one still quite sounds like them.
- “All Nerve”
- “Off You”
Kim Deal (guitar, bass vocals), Kelley Deal (guitar, bass, vocals), Josephine Wiggs (guitar, bass, vocals), Jim Macpherson (drums)
Producers: Lars Gotrich, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Dani Lyman; Production Assistant: Joshua Bote; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.