The Breeders – Pod

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist

Kim Deal is a national treasure. An obviously critical part of the massively influential Pixies; a visionary, iconoclastic, and creative songwriter and front person; and a role model for millions of young women, inspiring them to be leaders in not just the field of music but all aspects of their lives. Long live Kim Deal.

What I Think of This Album

This is one of the best sounding albums I’ve ever heard. Say what you will about Steve Albini, he did an outstanding job on Pod – every instrument comes through clearly and cleanly, but not artificially, so that they still organically form a whole that is the song.

Formed by Deal and Tanya Donnelly (Throwing Muses; Belly), the Breeders were rounded out by Josephine Wiggs (The Perfect Disaster) on bass and violinist Carrie Bradley (Ed’s Redeeming Qualities). For Pod, they recruited Britt Walford of Slint, who is credited under the name “Shannon Doughton,” preserving the conceit of an all-woman band. Deal and Donnelly had an agreement – apparently driven by thorny songwriting legalities – that the first Breeders album would feature Deal’s songs and the second would be Donnelly’s vehicle. Accordingly, this very much feels like a Deal project (two songs were co-written with early bassist Ray Halliday, and there are single collaborations with Donnelly and Wiggs).

Overall, the sound is mysterious without being brooding, dangerous without being dark, and sensual without being seductive – Pod is direct and compelling. Opener “Glorious” embodies the album’s aesthetic – spare, angular, pulsating, odd, and mesmerizing, with up-front snare hits and nervy guitar sounds, as well as Deal’s inimitable vocals. “Doe” charges forward with enthusiastic strumming, Deal’s “da da”s and Donnelly’s barely-there harmonies, and Wiggs’s strong bass. The cover of the Beatles’ “Happiness Is a Warm Gun,” which is utterly transformed into a sinister, harsh, tension-filled offering.

Bradley’s violin centers the snaky, enigmatic “Oh!” on which Deal’s voice breaks and it’s like the Eiffel Tower snapping in half. Deal increases the weirdness factor on the heavy “Hellbound,” which becomes a dark incantation. Bradley shines again on the riffy, bass-rumbling “When I Was a Painter,” which makes excellent use of Deal’s speak-singing. Things get poppy on “Fortunately Gone,” which has some country undertones and skips along on Wiggs’s bass. Atonal guitars, some loud/quiet dynamics, and Deal’s anguished singing characterize the remarkable “Iris.” “Opened” is basically one riff repeated over and over, but it’s still pretty fun. “Only In 3’s” is also on the poppier side of things, and also a bit slight. There is an awesome guitar part on gritty “Lime House,” and Deal absolutely owns the vocals. Finally, “Metal Man” emphatically closes things out, with Wiggs on guitar and spoken vocals.

The Best Thing About This Album

The vocal break on “Oh!” is life-changing.

Release Date

May, 1990

The Cover Art

Wonderful. Vaughn Oliver himself strapped on a belt of dead eels and performed a “fertility” dance for this shot. The background colors are amazing and the fonts are perfect.

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