The Breeders: Title TK

The Breeders: Title TK

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The Breeders

Album: Title TK

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In 1993, The Breeders' Last Splash was a major hit, spawning an inescapable single ("Cannonball") and compensating for Tanya Donelly's departure from the group by establishing Kim and Kelley Deal's status among rock 'n' roll's great volatile siblings. Then nine years passed, during which the Deal sisters worked on so-so side projects (Kim's The Amps, Kelley's Kelley Deal 6000), battled demons both personal (Kelley's drug problems) and professional (Kim's writer's block), and did virtually everything except complete an absurdly long-awaited third full-length Breeders album. Bands can't buy the sort of mythology that's gone into Title TK, but mythology and $2.98 will buy a copy of Last Splash at any used-record store. As if aware of the missed opportunities and lost time—and certainly aware of the scars left by years of infighting—the Deals (working with members of Fear) imbue Title TK with a sense of portentous sadness. Even when it rocks out, as on "Little Fury" and "Full On Idle," the result feels almost painfully spare and a bit empty, an effect generated in part by Steve Albini's appropriately dry, harsh production. As a whole, Title TK comes off as unglued in an almost perversely restrained, even uneventful way, especially on the plodding likes of "Off You." Buzzy and static, the album's seething midsection occasionally just seems dull, making it easy to forget that it's generating a sound at all. Kim and Kelley Deal don't fully tear off the restraints until the killer closing track "Huffer," a two-minute monster that lends teasing hope for a blockbuster follow-up, due out in 2011.

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