A nine-year sabbatical might induce a brighter outlook on life or a regained sense of humanity, but Kim Deal has soaked this record in broad, unrefined cynicism. Her ironic approach to pop melodies has not waned, however, and we are still left in a perpetual state of smug, pretentious head nodding, as if Deal was writing simply to feed our desire for cryptic analogies and deep-seated insider references. This record doesn’t pander like Pacer, but like any case of bitter resentment, it is only a matter of time for it to seep into the familiarities of segmented lives.
The underlying irony lies in Deal’s ability to fuse her disenchantment with infectiously poppy leads and an uncanny knack for song structure. “The She” and “Put on a Side” musically and lyrically roll with boredom and anger, but the delivery brings about her tongue-in-cheek happiness. Unlike past Kim Deal endeavors, this album depends on the other band members while still retaining Deal’s warm voice and basic guitar riffs. The drums are surprisingly standoffish, but this record allows the band to feed off of one another, breaking from the typical 4/4 beat. “T and T” is perhaps the poster child for the new Breeders. Three separate guitar lines play with clarity, as a prominent bass line smoothly brings the rest of the band together. Never before has Deal put so much on her shoulders and let the band take most of the credit, whether she says so or not. Title TK makes clear that this is a group and not some solitary songwriter.
[Collin Mitchell has regained a sense of humanity]