Saturday, May 31, 2008

My Bloody Valentine - Isn't Anything (V)

I picked up Isn't Anything sitting, unwanted, on a record store shelf for 10 USD. Would have been a deal at twice the cost. Isn't Anything is pure optimism, regret, pain, and hope wrapped in a little pinkish package. The album has drifting feedback, soft chords, oddly burnt-out rhythms and vocals. When I first heard My Bloody Valentine, Kevin Shields' vocals took some time to get used to. The strangely muddy guitar dragged me in and wrapped me in Bilinda's singing, propelled strangely by Colm and Debbie's slightly off-kilter rhythm section. This is an incredibly inventive album, and beyond that, full of beautiful songs. It's a little rough around the edges, but sweeps the listener up in some sort of pure, childish honesty.

"Soft As Snow (But Warm Inside)" is a very rock-powered but light and happy sex song. By the time we get to "No More Sorry," My Bloody Valentine has switched to painful, dark, ambient music centering on child abuse and possibly incestual rape. The single, "Feed Me With Your Kiss," is oddly heavy rock with mathematical rhythmic variation. The album drops straight from there to "Sueisfine" or, as live versions would have it, "Suicide."

Isn't Anything is a slab of excellent songs. My Bloody Valentine isn't really like anyone else - warm, sliding guitar and ample atmosphere with a tendency towards driving rock beats and fast blasts of snare. Soft, ambient vocals, pure, sweet melodies. Strange musically ordered chaos of fragmented words and fuzzy, unclear distortion. If there's anything left in you that isn't purely cynical, take this album. Spend time with it. Open up to it. It's worth it.

Oh, and if you're in Europe or Japan, go see them soon. Just for me. They're playing Roskilde if you'll be in Denmark. Hopefully they'll come visit the new world within a couple years . . .

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