not a member? click here to sign up
Isn’t Anything / Loveless / EP’s ‘88 -’91
My Bloody Valentine finally re-deliver the goods
Stuart Clark, 30 May 2012
Copulate with my ancient footwear! A mere nine years after telling us they were imminent, Kevin Shields finally delivers the My Bloody Valentine remasters we’ve been waiting for – more out of hope than any real belief they’d ever see the light of day.
If you’re listening to them on your computer or using the godawful headphones that come with your iPod/Pad/Phone it’s virtually impossible to tell the difference between the new and old versions of My Bloody Valentine’s debut Isn’t Anything album and the far more difficult Loveless follow-up.
Crank them out at neighbour annoying volume on the hi-fi though and the contrast is eargasmically startling.
Unlike Ride, Swervedriver, Moose, Slowdive and quite a few of their other shoegaze-era Creation labelmates, neither record has aged a jot with Loveless in particular as fresh, lush and innovative as anything that’s hit the racks in recent times.
“My Bloody Valentine are really a pop group at heart, albeit a severely traumatised one,” is what I wrote in my original 1991 review and nothing has happened in the intervening 21 years to change my mind. I’ll also stand over my, “Openers ‘Only Shallow’ and ‘Loomer’ are both as laden with melody as they are decibels, songs of fractured beauty and jarring extremes where Bilinda Butcher’s breathy tones are starkly contrasted by Kevin Shields’ tastefully brutal riffing.” The pick of 11 damn near faultless songs though is ‘Soon’, a wonderful whirlpool of a tune driven by Colm O Ciosig’s sampled cello.
Isn’t Anything is by comparison a harder album to penetrate, but a joy once you get in. It’s also less multi-layered, and not averse to sounding like The Byrds on a bad mescaline trip. Which frankly is how I like my groups to sound.
The Holy Grail for devout My Bloody Valentine fans is EPs 1988-1991, a 24-track monster that charts their transition from indie rookies into the teepee-dwelling experimentalists that continue to influence everyone from Yuck and Polica to M83 and Male Bonding.