Pod is the debut album by the American alternative rock band The Breeders, released on the independent record label 4AD in May 1990. Engineered by Steve Albini, Pod was recorded at Palladium Studios, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Steve Albini has stated that it is the one album on which he felt he got both the best sound for a band, and the best performance from a band. It has been credited by Nirvana's Kurt Cobain as being one of the most influential albums of his life. According to Cobain, "it’s an epic that will never let you forget your ex-girlfriend.
The Breeders wanted to re-record the demo tape for a general release. 4AD gave the band a $11,000 budget and recruited Steve Albini, who had worked with Deal on the Pixies' 1988 album Surfer Rosa, to record in Edinburgh, Scotland for two weeks in December 1989.
Pod's sound has been seen by critics as an amalgamation of the Pixies' and the Throwing Muses' music; a combination of elliptical punk, angular pop, shattered tempos and screeching dynamics. The album features a wide range of musical styles; from the poppy "Fortunately Gone" to the hard rock of "Hellbound".
The album did, nevertheless, receive much acclaim from mainstream critics; The New York Times' Karen Schoemer wrote: "The angular melodies, shattered tempos and screeching dynamics recall elements of each of the women's full-time bands, but Pod has a smart, innovative edge all its own. Heather Phares of Allmusic hailed the album as "a vibrantly creative debut," and praised its "creative songwriting, immediate production...and clever arrangements." Phares compared Pod favorably to the Pixies' Bossanova and the Throwing Muses' Hunkpapa; Deal and Donelly's respective bands' releases at that time. Rolling Stone magazine, in their profile of The Breeders, called the album "hazy and creepily erotic...[Pod was] just what college radio had been waiting for."
The praise, however, was not uniequivocal; The Village Voice's Robert Christgau derided the album, calling it an "art project", implying that The Breeders didn't "[sound] like a band. In his book The Rough Guide to Rock, Peter Buckley downplays comparisons with the Pixies, suggesting the album is "far too plodding for that. In The A to X of Alternative Music, Steve Taylor says, "Deal's songs [on Pod] are not of the same quality as her Pixies work.
In a 1992 interview with Melody Maker, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain named Pod as one of the records that influenced his life: "It’s an epic that will never let you forget your ex-girlfriend. Subsequently, in August 1993, after the release of their second album Last Splash, the Breeders were invited to open for Nirvana at several venues in Europe. In July 1995, in their tenth anniversary issue,Alternative Press ranked Pod number 39 of the "Top 99 of '85-'95", a list of the best albums released during the magazine's years in print. In July 2007, in a chat forum interview, Pod's engineer Steve Albini revealed that he considered the album to be amongst his best works.
All tracks were written by Kim Deal, except where noted.