The Breeders, Koko, London

Koko, London

When the Dandy Warhols sang "I'd rather be cool than be loved", in Cool As Kim Deal, they ignored the fact that their subject has always had it both ways. While playing bass in the Pixies gave her kudos, it was Deal's side-project, the Breeders, that won her fans and has, for the past 20 years, proved a constant sanctuary for both her and identical twin sister, Kelley.

Both have been in rehab - Kelley for heroin addiction in 1994, Kim for alcohol abuse in 2002 - and toyed with other bands, but it's to the delicate yet steely sound of the Breeders they return. They've been working on their gorgeous new album, Mountain Battles, since the release of Title TK six years ago and Kim couldn't look happier to be back.

Standing next to her sister, she smiles broadly, throwing her head back and guffawing while Kelley giggles. The two chat, share private jokes and tease one another, while bassist Mando Lopez and drummer Jose Medeles, almost disappearing into the wings of the stage, watch with practised patience.

But when they focus, the Breeders are a beguiling force. New songs are seamlessly layered with old favourites, the quicksand rhythm of Overglazed nestling next to the fireworks of No Aloha and of Divine Hammer. The sisters' vocals bounce and swim around one another like sulky schoolgirls on the Beatles' Happiness Is a Warm Gun, and are wise and warm as matriarchs on the acoustic Here No More. Naturally, it's Kim's distorted yelping on indie anthem Cannonball that sends the moshpit mad, and as her gaze flashes from the crowd to her sister, she's left in no doubt that she is still both cool and loved.


Betty Clarke

The GuardianTramp

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