Like the Breeders’ 2002 semi-comeback album “Title TK,” the defiantly rough-edged, analog-recorded “Mountain Battles” is produced by Steve Albini and features subtle, catchy songs that turn away from the more overt pop of the band’s leftfield 1993 smash “Last Splash” (which featured the alt-rock radio staple “Cannonball”).
Albini’s famously raw production (loud drums, untweaked vocals, warts-and-all guitar solos) suits perfectly Deal’s skewed pop songs, with their warm, fuzzy instrumentation and simple, often minimalist lyrics. Deal, with twin sister Kelley, drummer Jose Medeles and bassist Mando Lopez in tow, has crafted a timeless-sounding record that fits it nicely with her non-Pixies output. Shimmering guitars drench slow-burning gems like “We’re Gonna Rise” and “Night of Joy,” while sloppy, Dinosaur Jr.-like crunch drives the peppy “It’s the Love.”
Perhaps courting the international crowd, “German Studies” is exactly what the title suggests and “Regalame Esta Noche” features Kelley Deal serenading en Espanol. Alas, the quirky “Istanbul” (with its cheerleader chant-style chorus) is not in Turkish.