Retrospectacle: Last Splash

This week’s Retrospectacle is perhaps more easy to understand for non-Americans. Back in Ireland, I don’t think I had ever heard a Pixies song played on mainstream radio until the 2000’s. So you can imagine that the likelihood of hearing Kim Deal’s side project band was even slimmer.

The Breeder’s had a 1993 single that achieved great success in “Cannonball” and this was extremely loved in my infantile mp3 collection of maybe 300 songs. This was back when mp3s were acquired in 30 minute Napster sessions. A decade passed until I finally picked up the album Last Splash in a record store bargain bin (some early 21st century evidence that when appropriately priced, free downloading actually increases album sales).

Last Splash is schizophrenic at best. Tracks veer from quiet to loud, lazy to energetic, Hawaiian surf to country twang, and unfortunately, pop punk genius to unintelligible messes. When they’re good The Breeders unleash effortlessly fun tracks like “Divine Hammer”, “Saints” and of course “Cannonball”. However, experimental instrumentals like “Flipside” and “Roi” wear out their welcome quickly but in an album of snappy short songs can be quickly forgiven and skipped.

It’s certainly a patchwork quilt of talent and style but when they were good, The Breeders were damn good.

Listen to “Divine Hammer” here.

Retrospectacle, a column from contributor Thom Lau, appears on Tuesdays.

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