With Kim Deal’s songwriting contributions to the Pixies being so limited it was only a matter of time before she would look elsewhere for an outlet. Step forward The Breeders, formed with Throwing Muses’ Tanya Donelly. Debut album Pod, with the magnificent Fortunately Gone and Beatles cover Happiness Is A Warm Gun, was a fine record.
After the Pixies finally split, a new Breeders line-up emerged with Kim joined by twin sister Kelley on lead and Jim MacPherson on drums (Josephine Wiggs remaining on bass), and second album Last Splash was dropped on the world in 1993. It was an instant and massive success. Buoyed by the brilliance of Cannonball (with a video directed by Kim Gordon and Spike Jonze), Last Splash brought Kim’s very distinctive brand of alternative music to the masses, achieving sales in excess of one million copies.
On the whole it’s a pop album, although a very noisy, chaotic one, with oodles of hooks and melodies burrowing into your brain, and when it’s not alternapop it’s surfpunk (the joyfully bonkers Flipside), soul-achingly beautiful (Do You Love Me Now?, sample lyrics: “Does love ever end / when two hearts are torn away / or does it go on / and beat strong anyway / you loved me before / do you love me now?”), rather scary (Roi, Mad Lucas), and country (Drivin’ on 9), all overflowing with gorgeous playing and sparkling lyrics.
Follow-up Title TK took nine years to appear, and album four Mountain Battles emerged half a dozen years after that, with Josephine and Jim long gone from the band. Instead of being great The Breeders’ legacy is “merely” very, very good, but Last Splash remains a gleaming monument to their ’90s brilliance. Happily, with 2013 being the twentieth anniversary of its release, Kim, Kelley, Josephine and Jim are back together and have been (and still are) touring all over the world. And Last Splash remains one of my all-time favourite records. Bless its heart.
30 August 1993.
Cannonball (video below), Do You Love Me Now?, Saints (video below).