The Breeders are a force of nature (no pun intended)! I wasn’t sure that they could up the ante after 2002’s Title TK, which I thought might have been the most perfect album ever and seemed to pick up right where Pod left off. To my great pleasure, they certainly have created an incredible album in every respect, possibly the best album of young 2008-- Mountain Battles. Blasting off with “Overglazed,” you are taken to another planet where The Breeders guide you through sonic terrain only they can offer.
Mountain Battles is the culmination of many years of recording on and off with the assistance of the likes of Steve Albini, Erika Larson, and Manny Nieto in Los Angeles, Chicago and Dayton, Ohio, and comes complete with incredible design and of course classic 4AD aesthetics and style as a whole. Mastered at Abbey Road “because I’m going from half-inch tape directly to vinyl, there’s only a couple of places in the world that still do half-inch directly to the cutting of the acetate,” as Kim has explained. You can hear the passion and dedication to the art of record making in every single track of the album. Joining Kim and Kelley Deal (vocals, guitar) are drummer Jose Medeles and bassist Mando Lopez (of Fear), who played on TitleTK.
The namesake track “Mountain Battles” is somehow oddly reminiscent of Nico's Desertshore and Low-era David Bowie. The avant-garde composition works its magic whilst Kim croons “My wilting heart does shadow on the moon/ Fantastic view/ Thinking of things to do.” As a matter of fact, you can hear bits and pieces from decades of music history in the mere 36.5 minutes of the duration of the album. A few rise to the surface immediately – Jimi Hendrix, Isaac Hayes, Roy Orbison, The Pretenders, Wire... Isn’t this the stuff of which great music is made? Here one might want to consider the fact that the “All Wave” recording method was used in conjunction with on the fly mixing during mastering for a total analog dream sound end product. This “pure sound” method is opposed to using any form of digital recording manipulation and sound can be seen as a music making strategy or style parallel to the realist film movement Dogme 95. Ladies and gentlemen: sit back, relax, close your eyes and enjoy the masterwork that is Mountain Battles.