Mountains Out of Molehills
Come hell or high water, Kim and Kelley Deal are never going to sound like anyone else besides what they are: The Breeders. In fact, theyâ€šÃ„Ã´ve stacked the deck to the point where most of their fans donâ€šÃ„Ã´t even expect their albums to sound good or bad anymore. Just look at 2002â€šÃ„Ã´s Title TK, a sluggish and frustratingly tentative effort that many couldnâ€šÃ„Ã´t be bothered to regard as such simply because they were too grateful that it existed at all, given the nine years between it and its predecessor. Such leniency may not have been rewarded to Mountain Battles a scant six years later. Fortunately, it wonâ€šÃ„Ã´t be necessary.If TKâ€šÃ„Ã´s title was indicative of its lazy, unfinished quality, then Battles reflects Kim Dealâ€šÃ„Ã´s well-earned victory in her own upward battle to return to form. In the celebratory swirl of opener â€šÃ„ÃºOverglazed,â€šÃ„Ã¹ Kim repeatedly exclaims â€šÃ„ÃºI can feel it!â€šÃ„Ã¹ and for the first time since 1993â€šÃ„Ã´s Last Splash, youâ€šÃ„Ã´ll believe her. A successful stint in rehab followed by a reunion with the Pixies seems to have renewed her resolve, as evidenced lyrically in subsequent songs like â€šÃ„ÃºWeâ€šÃ„Ã´re Gonna Riseâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and the positively Pod-worthy â€šÃ„ÃºWalk it Off.â€šÃ„Ã¹
More echoes of that seminal pop gem (eerie girl-group harmonies courtesy of sister Kelley, able production from Steve Albini) smooth out the jagged lo-fi edges of songs like the haunting â€šÃ„ÃºNight of Joyâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and the brusquely Teutonic â€šÃ„ÃºGerman Studies.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Then thereâ€šÃ„Ã´s the refreshing Splash of â€šÃ„ÃºItâ€šÃ„Ã´s the Love,â€šÃ„Ã¹ which while not quite a â€šÃ„ÃºCannonball,â€šÃ„Ã¹ is sure to be blasting at more than a few BBQs this summer.
None of Mountain Battlesâ€šÃ„Ã´ peaks are quite as high as The Breedersâ€šÃ„Ã´ early â€šÃ„Ã²90s output, but theyâ€šÃ„Ã´re still well worth scaling. There may not be anything particularly revelatory during the climb, but the view sure is nice.