Published on October 13th, 2018

Breeders by Marisa Gesualdi

It’s odd to think that the Breeders, whose power resides in their unmatched sibling chemistry, began life at the dawn of the 1990s without one of the two sisters on board. Bassist and singer Kim Deal started the band with Tanya Donnelly of Throwing Muses and Belly fame. But twin Kelley Deal soon stepped in on guitar and vocals, and the rest, as they say …

Hypnotic in a way that many bands aim for but never quite achieve, the Breeders would go on to represent everything that made college rock, or alternative music in the original sense, so special. They are haunting, abrasive and all heart.

Kim was integral part of the Pixies, with Frank Black the blueprint band for the later emergence of grunge. The Pixies pioneered the loud-quiet-loud songwriting sonics embraced by none other than Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain. Kelley brings a different, complementary flavor to the project than former Black Francis collaborator Kim — and it shows. Breeders harmonies can slay you in an instant, whereas some of the recent Pixies output minus Kim, who quit in 2014, is hit-or-miss.

The Breeders never sound out of place or out of date. Their new album, “All Nerve,” could have been released right alongside “Last Splash” — their breakthrough album with the playful, peak-’90s single, “Cannonball” — and would have sounded just as peak. Likewise there’s nothing in 2018 to undercut its production, songwriting or playing. It’s as if every time the Deals pick up their instruments and decide to sing together, they’ve lost no time at all.

To call the group magical seems simplistic, however; the Deals haven’t cakewalked to where they are today. Kelley has had very public brushes with rehab. Kim’s other ventures have been up and down — her side project The Amps was a killer band that produced an amazing album, “Pacer,” that almost nobody heard.

The Breeders is where Kim and Kelley Deal really shine. They are indelibly kin, and tough to imagine apart. There’s no bad place to introduce yourself to their work, so check out for starters their dreamy cover of “Wicked Little Town” from “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

The Breeders play October 19 at the Fillmore Miami Beach. GET ~ Tim Moffatt


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