Initially, Kim Deal planned the Amps to be a solo project as she waited for her sister and fellow Breeder Kelley Deal to finish recovering from heroin addiction. Soon, the Amps flowered into a full-fledged band, recording material intended for both Kim's solo project and the third Breeders album. Recruiting drummer Jim MacPherson and two local Dayton musicians, Deal recorded Pacer in the summer of 1995, releasing it in the fall. Appropriately, the album is raw, punky, and amateurish -- it's lo-fi garage punk. Not only does Deal sound recharged by recording with a new band in such a rushed atmosphere, she contributes her most immediate and bracing songs since Pod, the first Breeders album. Pacer somewhat recalls the Pixies, but only in the sense that both bands rely on amateurish enthusiasm to rock, and both bands have an off-kilter sense of song structure. In that sense, the Amps also take a great deal from Guided by Voices, who the Breeders covered on their 1994 Head to Toe EP. But the key to Pacer is its primitive energy. From the brutally pounding "Empty Glasses" and the charmingly sleazy "Tipp City" to the singsong pop of "Pacer" and the fractured melodic rock of "Hoverin" and "Breaking the Split Screen Barrier," Pacer is exciting, gut-level rock & roll.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine