The Breeders, “All Nerve” (4AD)
This new Breeders album would be special no matter how it sounded.
It’s the first time the quartet behind the seminal “Last Splash” has recorded together since that 1993 smash with “Cannonball” and “Divine Hammer,” and the first Breeders album of any kind in a decade. But singer-guitarist Kim Deal clearly had something huge planned for this special reunion and it shows.
“Consider I always struggle with the right word,” Deal sings in the raucous single “Wait in the Car.” Then, she meows.
It’s a return of the humor from the best Breeders work, an absurdist twist to play off the risk-taking rock riffs from Deal and her twin sister Kelley. And it shows up again in the massive “MetaGoth,” featuring bassist Josephine Wiggs on lead vocals, as well as the weird “Archangel’s Thunderbird,” which offers a nod to “Cannonball” in Jim Macpherson’s drumming.
However, the epic “Spacewoman” and “Walking With the Killer” form the centerpiece of “All Nerve,” as Deal tells tall tales surrounded by solid indie rock. It may not be one “Divine Hammer,” but “All Nerve” shows how much the Breeders have grown in their time apart to become so much better together.
GLENN GAMBOA, Newsday
Car Seat Headrest, “Twin Fantasy” (Matador)
Between 2010 and 2013, auteur Will Toledo, formerly of Richmond, Va., and now of Seattle and who records as Car Seat Headrest, put out a whopping eight albums on the online music site Bandcamp.
He’s slowed down considerably since, releasing only “Teens of Style,” which featured new versions of previously released songs, in 2015, and the all-new “Teens of Denial” the next year. “Twin Fantasy” is another example of Toledo revisiting his recent past: It’s a complete reprise of his 2011 self-released album of the same name, beefed up with vastly better studio standards, some fresh lyrics (including a Frank Ocean reference in “Cute Thing”), and plenty of evidence of musical growth in the intervening years.
From the multipart album centerpiece “Beach Life-in-Death” to the organ-driven closer “Twin Fantasy (Those Boys),” it’s packed with ideas and winning wit, and Toledo’s tinkering unquestionably improves the revamped product. Still, here’s hoping he gets back to writing new songs the next time out.
DAN DELUCA, Philadelphia Inquirer
• Judas Priest, “Firepower”
• David Byrne, “American Utopia”
• Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, “Tearing at the Seams”
• Of Montreal, “White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood”
• Albert Hammond Jr., “Francis Trouble”
• Ministry, “AmeriKKKant”
• The Fratellis, “In Your Own Sweet Time”
• Erasure, “World Beyond”
• Myles Kennedy, “Year of the Tiger”