Didn't everyone crank "Cannonball" in their Mom's Geo 15 years ago? Well‚ if not‚ no matter‚ because this is a Kim Deal with a whole different game plan. That momentary spurt of pop success far behind her‚ one of indie-rock's leading ladies has made an album she knows her friends will love. With twin sister Kelley along side‚ Mountain Battles is a return to the rebellion music that once personified gray‚ early '90s suburbia. There's no looming shadow of Frank Black to escape from this time around‚ but that doesn't keep The Breeders' newest from staying far away from the askew-pop of The Pixies.
"Overglazed" starts things off huge with a power thrasher that would sound best coming out of a half-open garage door. Repeating cries of "I can feel it‚" Kim Deal sounds like a young Perry Farrell here‚ and provides the shock for the oncoming awe. For as much as the rockers rock‚ and as much as the Deal sisters probably don't want to hear it‚ the best tracks on this album are the ones that are downright beautiful.
Things first start slowing down on "Night of Joy‚" where the ladies channel Syd Barrett at his warmest macabre. This one provides the first moment of lament for last decade's abundance of girl rockers‚ and makes you certain of where Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs draws her inspiration from. "We're Gonna Rise" is even slower‚ and far more heart wrenching‚ but potentially the best song Deal has ever written. Her divisive guitar solo in this raw ballad is the kind of thing that helped give birth to the indie-rock section in your local record store.
"Walk it Off" is the closest thing anywhere near "pop" on the album‚ and probably would have broken the top 10 in 1994 with its flannel-worthy lyrics: "Don't you dare walk it off" and "Let's not work it out." Repeated listens may find you skipping over the obscurities to replay "Walk it Off" and the more genteel cuts-the most serene of all being "Here No More." Vocals and an acoustic guitar alone still manage to make this the most powerful moment on the album‚ even compared to the death drone of the closing title-track. Undoubtedly‚ Mountain Battles is the healthiest dose of estrogen that rock's had in years.