My Bloody Valentine – Isn’t Anything

31 Aug

Isn’t Anything by My Bloody Valentine (1988)

This album, although frequently overlooked as the less attractive older sister to 1991’s Loveless, is an impressive and well-balanced introduction to shoegaze in its infancy.  It is a near-perfect marriage of terror and warmth.

The wonderful, wandering bass-line in “Soft as Snow (But Warm Inside)” immediately draws the listener in.  The title of the song works very well as a metaphor for the album’s sound.  The treble is soft and fuzzy, yet Valentine is cold/dark in their mood and lyricism; at the same time, their wall of sound coats you like a blanket.

The second track, “Lose My Breath,” prepares the listener for the more traditional Valentine sound with Kevin Shields’ distorted, overpowering tremolo and the slightly more intelligible vocals of Bilinda Butcher.

Butcher’s lyrics to “No More Sorry” a few tracks later are theatrically tragic.  “All I Need” begins like a soundtrack to a night-terror and quickly dissolves into a beautiful harmony.  Butcher’s soothing hums reach ever upward like a drowning swimmer’s arms in a moonlit lake (how’s that for a pretentious analogy?)

“Feed Me With Your Kiss,” one of the album’s singles, has the most punishing instrumentation on the album, yet it is balanced by the sing-songy vocals of Shields and Butcher.  Valentine cleverly plays with language in “Sueisfine” merging the title with “suicide” in the chorus, reinforcing the dark, edgier backdrop of the album.  “Several Girls Galore” begins again with a horrific grit but is at once diffused by Butcher’s unbelievably sexy delivery.

The apelike ribcage-pounding drums in “Nothing Left to Lose” provide a final surge before the gorgeous coming down in “I Can See It (But I Can’t Feel it).”  The tracking and combination of Shield’s and Butcher’s vocals leave the listener numbed but satisfied.  The album swallows like a Xanex, and yet it was shoegazing colleagues, The Jesus and Mary Chain, that recorded the album “Psychocandy.”

Very well done.

Rating: ****1/2

One Response to “My Bloody Valentine – Isn’t Anything”


  1. The First Quarter of 2013 in Music | the self-hating hipster - June 14, 2013

    […] b v is by no means My Bloody Valentine’s best record (nor their second best…Isn’t Anything is incredible) but it’s doubtful that that was its actual purpose.  At the very least it […]

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