Review #293: Last Splash, The Breeders

Karla Clifton
3 min readJul 4, 2022

#293: Last Splash, The Breeders

I used to think I was very cool for knowing who the Breeders were, even though I didn’t really know who the Breeders were. I mean, I knew “Cannonball,” and that was basically enough, right? Even though it was a hit in the Nineties, it’s mostly a barroom trivia question now.

But the only thing I really knew about the Breeders were that they were the spawn of the Pixies. As always, a little bit of research reveals a mountain of drama.

In 1993, frontman Black Francis (Yes, that is an adult man’s professional name.) announced in an interview that the Pixies were broken up, which was news to the rest of the Pixies. Now that her schedule was freed up, Kim and her twin sister Kelley began recording seriously as the Breeders, which had been a side project for Deal up until then. The Breeders never made the big time the way the Pixies did, but they did have “Cannonball” and its badass music video directed by Spike Jonze where Kim Deal contorts her mouth into terrifying elastic shapes.

Last Splash is an apt name for the record, since at some points the guitar and vocals sound like they’re drenched. The guitars on “Roi” and “Roi (reprise)” sound like rain on metal , and the vocals on “Invisible Man” and “Mad Lucas” make Deal sound like she’s gurgling lyrics up from the bottom of a river, Ophelia-style.

Sometimes the Breeders reminded me of the Pixies — “No Aloha” has a that slide guitar the Pixies were so fond of, and “Flipside” has that frantic, uneasy surfer energy that they lived in. But in other ways they branch out far further than Black Francis, who insisted on behaving like a goth stick in the sand. “New Year” reminded me of the shoegazy style of My Bloody Valentine, and “Saints” is practically cock-rock, which always sounds better coming from women, for some reason. And in a textbook example of sonic painting, “S.O.S.” features a one-note guitar solo, just like an ambulance siren.

And for once, the love songs won me over, maybe because they stuck out like girly sore thumbs in a torrential downpour. “Do You Love Me Now?” features sky-high sugary vocals, and “Drivin’ on 9” is practically a down-home country song, featuring a real-life fiddle solo, as Deal sighs that she’s Looking for 130/Maybe I passed it/Drive another mile.

Usually when I listen to rock music, I wish that I had a boy voice. Listen to Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, Axl Rose. They get to just SCREAM, sounding like their throats are full of gravel. My voice is sugary and high, just like Kim Deal’s, and this record was a delight to sing along to. Something about Kim and Kelley’s harmony on “Divine Hammer” (which isn’t about Thor, at least I don’t think) is downright inspiring to me. And I’ll be damned if “Hag” didn’t inspire Courtney Love’s whole career.

This isn’t a rap album, so there aren’t any dis tracks, but the shadiest song is “I Just Wanna Get Along,” which fires shots at Black Francis — it starts with Deal sneering We were rich once/Before your head exploded. But Deal wasn’t done with the Pixies; she would return when the group reformed in 2004 — before leaving again in 2013.

I can hardly blame her. It looks way more fun being a Breeder than being a Pixie.

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