Check out the first half first, duder.
So where was I? Oh yeah, The Breeders did manage to steer me into the arms of a very Kim Deal-esque young woman. You see, I met this chick in September of 1993. The Breeders and Kim and Kelley Deal were already so firmly imbedded in my mind that I didn't even notice that I was attracted to this girl because she looked and dressed like a Deal sister. This relationship was hot, heavy, dramatic, explosive, and lasted nearly 2 weeks (actually not consummated until months and months later in a rather peculiar one afternoon stand (don't worry I didn't put this album on for tha screwin')). The relationship ended but my aching love of this album never did.
During the summer of 1994, I actually got to see The Breeders live at Lollapalooza in Miami. They were not the most popular band at that moment and all the fucking idiots disappeared from the moshpit. So me and only a handful of rad dudes and ladies danced our hearts out in the August (the 15th to be precise) sun. Their stage was covered with gold Lamé and they rocked out. Like everyone who loves a band, it fucking felt like they were playing to me. The girl I was dating at the time didn't stand a chance. She looked nothing like Kim Deal. We broke up mere weeks after this show.
Track 1 - "I Just Wanna Get Along"
And here is another track that is so impossibly cool that it's like permanent sunglasses. With this in my walkman, I would strut around with a rock swagger that I never earned. Holy shit, here's a bass line so insistent and so steady that the rest of the band can do whatever the hell they please. The chops of Josephine Wiggs can never be praised enough.
Track 2 - "Mad Lucas"
In part 1 of this album review, I talked about how I thought this album was so weird and so out there? Well, if this isn't a bizarro track then I don't know what is. With vocals run through a rotary speaker, fuzzed out guitars that sound about a mile away, and some feedback that sounds an awful lot like one of those funky cicada sound toys that were everywhere in the 90s. This song sounds like eery meditation.
Track 3 - "Divine Hammer"
Nothing reminds me more of driving through rainy weather in Palm Beach County more than this song. Damn. The storm is breaking, the sun is setting to your left and you're just cruising through the weakening rain. What always impressed me are the snare blasts in this one. Years later, I would have my step-brother and I put together a drumset and I would fail to play along to this track. By the way, I never saw the music video for this track until way later when MTV2 played it.
Track 4 - "S.O.S."
Now this is heavy! I could dig on this instantly. There's nothing to get cerebral about. Soaring guitars and a thumping rhythm section. Duh, right? On any given afternoon, you could find my teenage self thrashing around my room like I was still into Anthrax and Sepultura.
Track 5 - "Hag"
This song seems to float in on melody that is impossibly pretty. Then it simply refuses to be ignored. It bristles with attitude, vocals dripping with disdain (wait, what song is that from? oh yeah, Vampire Weekend) and gets by on its good looks. Here is another example of a crash course in indie rock. This would open doors for me that would lead to tons of other bands. More about that at the end. This feels like someone else's memories. So perfect. And that jangly beauty again at the end. Pat yourselves on the back, ladies, you win.
Track 6 - "Saints"
I don't know. This one just seemed like a real easy track. Could this be the most radio friendly? I've always had trouble connecting to songs that praise summer. I've been in Florida for 23 years and I don't think I'll ever appreciate this awful, awful season. However, I did really enjoy the chip on the shoulder delivery of the lyrics. This song will not be denied. Oh yeah, this was the only other music video for this album that I saw at the time and it further enveloped me in the Dealness. (The version on the video above is different. Dig those gruff vocals!)
Track 7 - "Drivin' On 9"
What about this one? I don't know. It felt like the end of the album. For some people, maybe it felt like a reward. Maybe for some other kids, it was their favorite song. This song just depressed the shit out of me. I like how it has become this great bar song now. Awesome.
Track 8 - "Roi (Reprise)"
I have to say the inclusion of this short little bit of noise accomplished something that very few closing tracks (much less reprises) can do. It makes me want to start the whole record over again. I am one of those people who can't listen to the same album twice in a row and sometimes not even twice in a day. This was not the case with Last Splash and this track has a lot to do with that. Just play this back to back with "New Year". Truly, seriously, and totally.
So here it is, the future and I can't thank The Breeders enough for making my musical life so much better. I feel enriched after all these years. Without The Breeders I may never have even bothered with The Pixies until much later. I would never have been able to understand Sonic Youth. I would almost love Helium as much as this band. Almost! What else can I say? This one life-changing cassette did all of this. I needed to get out of my headspace and find music that felt just crazy enough to feel like it was mine. (Too bad it couldn't get me out of ska (that was a job for a little band called Braid).)