The Breeders – review

Glasgow ABC

A statement confirming Kim Deal had ended her 25-year involvement with Pixies was released last week. Among devoted fans, there was a lot of ­hand-wringing and rending of ­long-sleeved Doolittle T-shirts. For Deal herself, currently on the road to ­promote a deluxe 20th anniversary ­reissue of Last Splash, the breakthrough second album by her own band, the Breeders, it seems less of a big deal.

If Pixies were fearsome but fraught, the 2013-edition Breeders have a ­different byword: fun. At one point during this boisterous gig, Kim's twin sister, Kelley, puts gaffer tape over her mouth for no reason other than it seems to amuse her. The belated return of the personnel who recorded Last Splash – including ­bassist Josephine Wiggs and drummer Jim ­Macpherson – appears to have been genuinely ­rejuvenating rather than merely ­contractual.

Wiggs's big moment comes just three minutes in, when, after the ­distorted "awooga" soundcheck intro to ­Cannonball, she fluidly restates one of the most iconic and exposed basslines of the 90s. It sets a toweringly high bar for the rest of the gig, but the ­remaining half an hour or so of Last Splash sounds terrific, a gonzo ­admixture of breathy vocals (mostly Kim) and ­irregular bombardments of bracing guitar scree (mostly Kelley). There are also ­memorable instances of Waikiki sway, courteous country and, on the keening Divine Hammer, moshable melody.

The extended encore is a chance for fans to kneel before Pod, the Breeders' debut album and a record that Kurt Cobain adored. After the ­pummelling hard rock of Hellbound, Wiggs is ­cajoled by the Deal sisters into ­providing the ­uninflected first-person narration for Metal Man, which sounds bigger and more brutal than it does on record. "I think it's going really great, right?" says Kim before a second ­encore. On this form, it's impossible to disagree.

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Contributor

Graeme Virtue

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