The Breakaways

Walking Out on Love: The Lost Sessions

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If the Nerves were the great lost band of the L.A. power pop scene, then the Breakaways should at least rank in the Top Ten. After Jack Lee left the Nerves, his bandmates Peter Case and Paul Collins wasted no time in starting a new group, the Breakaways, and while that band would last less than a year and dissolve without releasing a record, they were the crucial stepping stone that led to Case forming the sublime Plimsouls and Collins cutting a pair of top-notch albums with the Beat. Walking Out on Love: The Lost Sessions collects 13 songs from demos, rehearsal tapes, and songwriting sessions, and the fact this 32-minute disc features tunes from three different lineups of a group that came and went in less than 12 months speaks to the inconsistency of the material. Practically all of what's here is good, but Walking Out on Love often jumps from simple but professional sounding tracks such as "Little Suzy" and "Radio Station" to lo-fi basement tapes of "One Way Ticket" and "I Don't Fit In," with other numbers sounding like they were well served in the studio, but the tapes haven't been so lucky (most notably "House on the Hill"), and as a consequence, this doesn't always feel focused. Clearly the Breakaways were a band with two great songwriters, plenty of ideas, and no shortage of energy, but they simply didn't last long enough for them to put the pieces together in a way that consistently honored their abilities. Simply put, Walking Out on Love is an album that speaks more to what could have been rather than what the Breakaways actually achieved before Case put together the Plimsouls and Collins joined forces with the Breakaways' final rhythm section to form the Beat. But the scraps they left behind are fun and exciting stuff, and though Walking Out on Love isn't as revelatory as the Nerves' collection One Way Ticket, it confirms that Case and Collins made a hell of a team before they went their separate ways.

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