FDF Volume 3 Issue 286 - My Bloody Valentine - Isn't Anything
Album – Isn't AnythingArtist – My Bloody Valentine
Key Players – Debbie Googe – bass. Colm O'Ciosoig – drums. Bilinda Butcher – guitars, vocals. Kevin Shields – guitar, vocals.
Produced By - My Bloody Valentine
Release Date – November 1, 1988
What caused me to blow off the dust? - News of a follow up to “Loveless” this week is what got me back to it.
Overview – Formed in 1983 by some teenage friends Dublin Ireland band My Bloody Valentine was formed. Named for a movie of the same name the band would struggle, even with a home base, early on. They'd come back to the UK in mid 1985 and they began to work on an ep. Band members would leave full time work to concentrate on the band, but success continued to elude the band. The band then lost their singer (Dave Conway) and the task ended up with Shields and Butcher. Viewed as the “Irish Husker Du” the band in early 1988 the band was singed to a label, released a single and then this album followed. The band would go on to be extremely influential in the “shoegaze” genre.
FDF Comments (aka the songs) O'Ciosoig is the lone instrument as the first track, “Soft as Snow (But Warm Inside)” from the 12 song just short of 40 minutes record gets underway. Machine gun like rat-a-tat before the swirling guitar and hushed vocals begin. To some it sounds almost out of tune, or like the batteries in your player are dying as it feels sort of slow, and drone like. That is a thing MBV does, at least that I've noticed. After the first verse there is a short breakdown with Googe and O'Ciosoig bringing it all back. Butcher and Shields battle with the long drones of guitars and swirling tones. Switching to acoustic guitars “Lose My Breath” follows. There is a haunting feel to it. Butcher takes the lead vocals on this track and she is hushed and somber. The acoustic guitars have a deep, rich tone to them and Butchers delivery seems fitting. “Cupid Come” is heavier, more what fans of the band are used to. The dueling guitars are only offset by the Googe bass line. O'Ciosoig keeps a slower tempo on the kit, using more cymbal crashes than we've heard to this point. Shields takes the lead vocals here and he seems to “sing” a bit more but we get more of a sonic payoff as the song heads towards the end. The buzzy urgency is just an audio assault. “(When You Wake) You're Still In a Dream” is another guitar attack. Shields and Butcher sing together. Butcher with some of the higher backing vocals that are more “oohs/ahhs” but Googe and O'Ciosoig are on task, hammering away the back tempo. For me, we are off to the races on this one, a solid track. Changing gears the far more “sound scape” sounding “No More Sorry” gets underway. This is a slower and darker, almost confusing song. There is no real tempo to it, and it feels to remain stagnant. That all changes as it gets loud on “All I Need”. The vocals are never forced, but musically you get hit on all sides. The song continues with this, but also has a spaced out fade out at the end. Now we are talking!! “Feed Me With Your Kiss” has the rumbling bass line and the guitars battle once more. Drums pound and the band is about as frantic as they have been. Butcher and Shields are pretty much buried in the mix, and the bass line stands out the most. This is a bit of a frantic tune from the band. You are hit again on all sides. This can be a hard listen for some, but this is what makes the band so good to me personally. The guitars battle again as “Sueisfine” starts. O'Ciosoig is more frantic and his fills are fast and mechanical. The two guitars cut through, but you hear the solid bass work from Googe under it all. Shields attacks his guitar about one minute in to the track and they seem to ease back some, but no..it just comes right back up. This may be my favorite track on the record. “Several Girls Galore” is back to that sort of swirly out of tune/slow delivery of a track. They are curious to listen to, but you think something is wrong with play back. Barring the vocals being “on speed” it seems a bit tilted. The band seems to be more on the attack later in the record and “You Never Should” continues that trend. The guitars do come at you like double barrels and the drums a solid. Googe has a cool fuzzy, yet clean bass sound on the track. Has that sort of pop-punk tone used by bass players underneath the guitar work. Shields and Butcher share the vocals again giving a hint to their harmonies. O'Ciosoig does his best impression of a multi armed drummer at the start of “Nothing Much to Lose”, but nobody seems to want to keep that tempo so it eases back some. This track as a more “verse/chorus/verse” feel but O'Ciosoig wants to let it rumble again and does so a few more times. The album concludes with “I Can See It (Bit I Can't Feel It)”. More acoustic guitar on this that prior tracks but the vocals are bit more prominent in the mix. That doesn't keep away from some of the guitar line being fuzzed out at times. It feels like a slow burner of a closer, just creeping towards the finish line. A wall of sound might have been better suited, but its a nice change of pace for the record as well.
Where are they now? - After this debut the band would take over two years to record the followup. “Loveless” is considered one of the best albums, some say ever, but it would nearly bankrupt the label and it was not met with big sales. They were dropped by the label. The band was then signed to Island records in 1992 and struggled on many levels with much more than a random single for a collection. There were rumors Shields had gone “crazy” and the band members decided to go their own ways. In 2007 the band reformed and there was wild speculation of new material and even shows. The material has since to be realized, but the band played a series of shows (mostly festivals) in 2008. The band has reported a new record should be out before the end of the year, as well as an EP in the next year. Read more here
FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I have never seen the band live. I'd like to see them..very much. I have earplugs at the ready.
FDF Overall Take – There are a few moments on this record that are a bit hard to take. The sound that the cd (or record) is slowing down sort of get on my nerves. That is the smallest issue I do have. There are just these massive walls of sound a times. The bass work is solid, and drumming is very good but if its guitars (and minus the solos) look no further than this record. Its with good reason this record is so highly regarded.
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