The Breeders

Mountain Battles (4AD)

After spending the past few years playing bass and pocketing cash with the reunited Pixies, you'd think some of those catchy Black Francis hooks would infect Breeders frontwoman Kim Deal. There are only a couple of songs hidden within the mess of barely formed ideas and art-punk wankery of Mountain Battles. Yet it isn't the self-indulgence but the dearth of tunes that makes it almost unendurable. The first Breeders album in six years opens with a half-baked piece of drone-pop called "Overglazed," which — judging from the "ohs" and "I can feel it" that make up the lyrics — pretty much amounts to five minutes of Deal having an orgasm. Then she wastes "Bang On"'s cool spidery rhythm on a bleating "I want no one, and no one wants me" sentiment — which is easy to sympathize with, considering the circumstances. It isn't until "We're Gonna Rise" that an actual melody surfaces, even if there really isn't much of one there. Only the Last Splash-like "Walk It Off" — with its ragged, distorted guitar lope — and the buzzy-bouncy "It's the Love" boast hooks. Too bad Deal doesn't bother to put any effort into her singing, which, like Mountain Battles, is half-assed and boring.