The Breeders – All Nerve (4 stars)

The Breeders – All Nerve

The long wait for a new album from 90s alt rock favourites is over

Listening to The Breeders again is like being reunited with an old friend; one that was always a bit dishevelled and quirky but bold and badass nonetheless. It was a decade ago when the last Breeders record, Mountain Battles, came into the world, and though the original quartet behind the platinum-selling Last Splash reassembled in 2013 to celebrate the album's 20th anniversary, the wait for new material has been long and arduous.

When 'Wait in the Car' was finally released back in October, it stirred up a lot of feelings for fans of the alt.rock misfits, with its familiar razor-sharp spunk and playfully eccentric riffs. But as the lead single from the Breeders long-awaited fifth album All Nerve, it pales in comparison to some of the record's stronger numbers, like slow burning title track 'All Nerve' with its hammering bass and defiant statement of 'I won't stop' during the hook acting as a kind of battle cry. Overall, the more lo-fi, lullaby-like tracks are where the most special moments of the album lie, for example in the dreamy and oddly beguiling 'Spacewoman' or 'Dawn: Making an Effort', where the background dissonance merges to create a dizzying landscape, cradled together by Kim Deal's wistful crooning.

There are certainly some quintessential Breeders elements on the album, where their classic erratic soundscapes seep through, as in the menacing opener 'Nervous Mary', which moves from sludgy guitar twangs to the signature driving harmonies of the Deal sisters. It's also great to hear that the idiosyncrasies in their songwriting haven't disappeared, with tracks like the dark and cutesy 'Walking With a Killer' and unsettling instrumentation of 'MetaGoth' leading the way.

The Breeders have and always will be an important band for fans of 90s alt.rock, grunge, Riot Grrrl and so on, but this new album is more than just a timely slice of nostalgia. All Nerve is noise pop in the fullest sense, providing the perfect reintroduction to an old-school favourite while balancing the need for progression with a taste of what makes them the band they are all these years later.

Out 2 March on 4AD.

The Breeders

After reuniting in 2012 to tour the 20th anniversary of the Last Splash album, Kim Deal's alt-rockers are still going strong.