So the whole shoegaze vibe hasn’t quite left me just yet. Tonight, it’s the My Bloody Valentine CD Boxset of their first two LPs, as well as their EP collection. I recently bought a Pioneer 25-disc CD changer for the home stereo off of my pal at work for a pauper’s allowance and this delicious box set is what I’m christening it with.
I believe that was a good decision.
So I bought this disc changer because I still have some CDs I quite like to listen to, but had a lousy CD player to play them on. Not only that, but I’ve got some pretty great CD boxsets that I’d love to load in and hit random on. Now I can. The first thing that came to my mind was this collection of remastered albums by one of my favorite bands that I bought as soon as it came out back in 2012. Of course I’d prefer these on vinyl, but God knows when Shields will get around to doing that. It took him nearly 22 years to release a proper follow-up to 1991s seminal Loveless. Figured I’d take what I can get. This one was pretty pricey anyways. Can’t imagine all of this on vinyl and the gallons of plasma I’d have to give in order to afford it. Turns out, these shiny, circular discs can sound pretty damn good as well. Who knew?
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I came to MBV late. Like 22 years late. But I’m here now, and I will tell you this collection is a great way to see Shields and company not only revolutionized their sound in just the course of a couple years, but how they revolutionized alternative music as a whole.
First up is the EPs 1988-1991. When I first received this box set in the mail from the excellent Luna Music back in 2012 this was the album I listened to the least. I was of the mindset that these were just throwaway songs collected onto two discs in order to just sweeten the musical pot for those suckers wanting to be completists. Turns out I was a f*****g moron and what this double CD album does is show you the evolution of the band in three years time. “You Made Me Realise” is noisy and punk-informed, while “Slow” is a churning fuzz pop classic. You get the feeling that Kevin Shields was quickly finding a voice in the squall and feedback he was making. There’s both Brit pop decadence and vitriol noise excursions on here. You can hear where the pre-Isn’t Anything sound gives into the pre-Loveless wall of dense sound. It’s quite fascinating. Really, this double CD collection is absolutely essential in understanding the sonic evolution of My Bloody Valentine.
Next is the band’s first proper LP, 1988s Isn’t Anything. I listened to this one quite a bit when I first received the box set as I wasn’t all that familiar with the record, honestly. At first, it sounded rather thin to me. It’s a sparse, noisy pop record for the most part. There were hints of what was to come in tracks like “Lose My Breath”, “Feed Me With Your Kiss”, and the album closer “I Can See It(But I Can’t Feel It), but for the most part these were treble-y, jangly pop songs. But here’s the thing, I think this record is also an essential step for the band. I think what this record proves is that Kevin Shields, Debbie Googe, Bilinda Butcher, and Colm Ó Cíosóig were merely mortals, just like the rest of us idiots. They weren’t these moody, dour, mystical beings creating Gothic walls of deafening sonic white noise. No, they were just a band of four people wanting to make music. Just four folks giving into their Beatles and Sex Pistols fandom and making rock and roll. This album is essential in understanding the people, so we can tolerate the myth.
And then there’s Loveless. I can’t really say much about this album that hasn’t already been said. In fact, I can’t add anything to the mix other than to say once I got this album, I REALLY f*****g got it. This album sort of melded into my psyche. I’d listen to “Touched” and “To Here Knows When” on repeat in my headphones for an hour. I swear it seemed as if ghosts were trying to talk through the fuzz and dense noise. After awhile you started to hear all those things buried deep within the tracks. With these newly remastered versions of the albums(one from the original tape, while the other from the original 1/2 inch analogue tapes) you can hear bits and pieces that were barely there before. Percussion and voices appear that were merely aural shadows before. “Sometimes” becomes this almost meditative, melancholy sigh. “Only Shallow” and “Loomer” have a deeper, harsher fuzz to them now. They seem heavier, even. “When You Sleep” has more of a minor key melody to it thanks to bringing the keys up a bit. Everything just pops a bit more with these new remastered versions.
So yeah, I’m enjoying a little My Bloody Valentine. My wife returned from her trip last night and brought home some Mothman Black IPA from Lewisburg, West Virginia. It’s quite a tasty brew, I might add. Tastes more like Black Rye than IPA, and that’s a good thing in my book.
Have a great Sunday evening folks.