Perversely, I find this LP more satisfying than the greatly over-rated Loveless, it certainly gets listened to more often around these parts. For me, Isn't Anything remains their masterpiece, followed by Ecstasy And Wine then this. You have to appreciate that both Loveless and Isn't Anything are a completely different musical style and aesthetic to this early effort from the band.
If you go into this expecting shoe-gazer guitars and dreamy vocals, you will be disappointed. Don't let that turn you off though, what you get here is MBV cutting their teeth on the sort of short, spiky pop that they took to its logical extreme on the Ecstasy and Strawberry Wine EPs and the subsequent compilation of the two. The vocals are disorientating, with their first singer Dave Conway sounding like Dave Vanian and the song forms bringing to my mind the likes of The Birthday Party and The Meteors.
And there's the rub - this is not the MBV that most people know, and as a result they neglect to give this record (and the early EPs with Dave singing) a fair listen. You want to hear MBV using feedback? This is the place to do it, they avoided feedback in their later LPs opting instead for sculpting the sound with amps and effects. What you get here is infectious post-punk with a Gothic tinge, full-speed-ahead riffing and theatricality.
It's a million miles away from the blissed-out noise and laconic grooves of Loveless (which at times I find inconsistent, dull and self-important,) but none the less entertaining. I have to say I didn't like it the first couple of times I heard it, and I knew what to expect. However, let it grow on you, and it will reward, especially if you love the pop of Ecstasy And Wine and the punkier moments of Isn't Anything. This and the bands first 3 Eps would make a great CD re-release and re-appraisal - they're a real hidden gem.