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A Magazine for Sheffield

Isn't Anything / EPs 1988-1991 / Loveless (Remastered)

Let me just own up before I begin - I love this band. I was there. Back when wearing a bootleg MBV T-shirt set me off on all kinds of teenage sexual adventures. My Bloody Valentine have that kind of effect on people. These songs are soaked through with sex. Not in the sense of going out there to get some, at the bar, in the club, not the kind that relentlessly drives so much rock music. No. This is how it feels to be touched, to be kissed, on the inside. Kevin and Belinda were sometime lovers, and sometimes, for a moment there, it's hard to tell which of them is singing. Don't get me wrong - this is not loved-up music. This is love, and lovelessness, that is broken and bruised.

MBV came from that time, at the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s, that was moving from analogue into digital. You can hear both warped and distorted guitars, stretched audio tape and feedback, but also drum loops and samples. This was going to be the future, though it didn't quite turn out that way.

Of the two LPs, Isn't Anything is dense and tender, raw and spiky, while Loveless - with two versions in this package, the second remastered from the original tape - is more sonically lush. The EPs chart the journey in between. 'You Made Me Realise' was the bands first experiment in noise that darkens on 'Feed Me With Your Kiss'. 'Glider' and 'Soon' are maybe the greatest pair of tracks ever pressed onto one side of an EP. They sound like nothing before or since. 'To Here Knows When' is possibly the most beautiful song ever recorded. There are also some rarities that did the rounds on bootlegs, which are not as strong but worth your time.

Loveless is said to have bankrupted Creation Records. That makes good copy, but what it did or didn't cost depends on who you ask. And then, MBV kind of fell apart and there was no more until a few reunion gigs a couple of years ago. Kevin is promising new material, but you just don't know with Mr Shields, what that might mean or when. In the meantime, there are these remastered releases, which are admittedly steep if you buy all three, but I think if you don't like this music there must be something wrong with you. Though everyone secretly thinks that about the music that gets them the most.