My Bloody Valentine - Loveless/Isn’t Anything
- By Jon Bye -
- May 03, 2012
Of the great alternative bands of the late 80s and early 90s, the number that originated in Britain is hopelessly small. In itself this made Ireland’s My Bloody Valentine unique. What made them so special though was that the quality of their music saw them impact on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond.
The re-release of their only two albums, along with an EPs and Rarities album, illustrates My Bloody Valentine’s significance as a band. Their complete body of material is not much larger than 40 songs, yet the influence they have had across artists and multiple genres – grunge, alternative, trip hop etc – is immeasurable. Their unique art was in blending dream-like pop songs, with the heavier sounds typified by the likes of The Jesus And Mary Chain and experimental sounds including guitar feedback and synth lines. All these elements are present on both their albums, coming together in a smoother, more digestible manner on second album Loveless compared to the more visceral Isn’t Anything.
Both albums challenge what might be considered beautiful music. Isn’t Anything’s ‘All I need’ actively drowns out melody and vocals through blaring but tuneful feedback, while ‘Loomer’ on Loveless has a guitar line like a booming air conditioner. But out of such crazy sounds come moments of sublime catchy pop such as ‘When you sleep’ and the near-anthemic ‘Come alone’.
Coming to My Bloody Valentine for the first time, Loveless is the easier album to engage with, with Isn’t Anything merit some return once the visceral noise becomes comforting. The new rarities album will offer something for fans, such as the engaging ‘Drive it all over me’, though some songs already feature on both full length albums with negligible difference.
I’ve spoken here in the past tense about My Bloody Valentine; technically they’re still going. But the odds of them producing anything as unique and of its time as witnessed on these two sublime albums is slim. Isn’t Anything and Loveless are dynamic stepping stones in the development of music and a high point of the alternative and experimental rock scenes. Anyone interested in either would do well to pay homage to these two albums – there’s something we all can still gain from them.
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