by Jasmine Bourgeois
All Nerve is The Breeders’ fifth studio album, coming out after a ten year hiatus since their last record. The Breeders have an iconic sonic terrain — though reminiscent of early garage rock, the dark pop quartet has an unmistakable style all their own. All Nerve not only lives up to the hype that’s surrounded the band since their inception, but carves a powerful spot for itself in the modern pop-rock landscape. This is an album that’s easy to listen to over and over again. There’s something peaceful about it; something that flows and paints scenery. Each track follows the other with ease, blending themselves into the background while lingering in the wells of your ears.
A mix of pop-rock and slower jams, this album is a testament to the power of simplicity. There’s an air of minimalism throughout, and that’s exactly what makes even the slower tracks shine — songs like “Dawn: Making an Effort” and “Walking with a Killer” have a downtempo quality that’s almost sedating. They’re engaging without being over the top, and lull you without slipping into the space of white noise. The slowness is like that of a candle burning out: It’s calming and thoughtful, but fills you with a warmth you can unwind in. There are still plenty of faster pop tracks that bear semblance to their early releases. Tracks like “MetaGoth” and “Spacewoman” have a dark edge, while others like “Archangel’s Thunderbird” seep with the same sharp garage riffs that hit your spine in just the right way.
All Nerve has the same familiar Breeders flair that we all know and love, yet the maturation is palpable. Each song is laden with their signature angsty, poppy noise. This album has a cool energy that buzzes with rhythmicity, fully exploring every corner of the unique sonic world that they’ve carved out for themselves. Nostalgic without being disconsolate, dark without being nihilistic, All Nerve creates a familiar world where the grunge is still thick in the air.