[Review] The Breeders: Safari (EP) (1992)

A last hurrah for the original Breeders before Tanya Donelly went Belly up.

Kronomyth 1.5: Safari, so good.

If The Breeders’ first album, Pod, left you feeling hungry for more, Safari is your delayed dessert cart. It contains three new originals plus a super-cool cover of The Who’s So Sad About Us. Of course, The Breeders really made a big splash with their next album, by which time Kelley Deal had replaced Tanya Donelly on guitar. (I’m pretty sure “replaced” is the wrong word.) Still, Safari is worth hunting down if you can’t get enough of Kim Deal (and who could?). The opening track, Do You Love Me Now?, is written about an old lover. It’s a good warm-up for what follows, but it’s no “Cannonball.” Don’t Call Home is the album’s most experimental track, highlighted by Donelly’s destructive lead guitar work. The lyrical credits to John Murphy could be a joke, considering that he and Kim split in 1988. Or not. In the kooky world of Kim Deal, writing a song with your ex-husband makes perfect sense. Safari is the obvious single: a propulsive number that plays up the band’s harmonies and chaotic convergence perfectly. The decision to dig into The Who’s early catalog for a cover of “So Sad About Us” wisely avoids the Beatles misfire from their first album. It also makes those Chrissie Hynde covers of The Kinks seem tame by comparison. So, there you have it: four final songs from the original four Breeders that asks the musical question “What’s wrong with Tanya?” and answers it with a resounding “Nuthin’.”

Original EP version

A1. Do You Love Me Now? (Kim Deal/Kelly Deal)
A2. Don’t Call Home (Kim Deal)
B1. Safari (Kim Deal)
B2. So Sad About Us (Pete Townshend)

The Players

Kim Deal (guitars, vocals), Tanya Donelly (guitar, vocals), Mike Hunt (Britt Walford) (drums, vocals), Josephine Wiggs (bass, cello, vocals) with John Mattock (drums on B1), John Murphy (additional lyrics on A2). Engineered by Paul Berry except B1 by Guy Fixsen; mixed by Kim Deal and Paul Berry.

The Pictures

Sleeve design by Vaughan Oliver/v23. Design assistance by Paul McMeniman. Front sleeve charcoal drawing by Shinro Ohtake. Additional elephants courtesy of IQ videographics.

The Plastic

Released on EP and CDEP on April 6, 1992 in the US (Elektra, 66432-1/2) and the UK (4AD, BAD-2003/CD).

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