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4.6 out of 5 stars27
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 6 November 2003
It seems this album has been completely overshadowed by the seminal Loveless but it is a shame as this is a real classic album. It is probably more generally accessible than Loveless but this doesn't mean it is of less worth. The sensual combination of the male and female voices off of each other and swooping guitar washes was totally new and still sounds fresh and startling. Melodically Soft as Snow but Warm Inside and No More Sorry are in a place somewhere between John Barry and Lee Hazlewood. A trully beautiful album with an edge.
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on 14 February 2000
At the end of the eighties post smiths and before grunge creation records produced some truly influential records. This is one of the best.'isn't anything' defines the MBV sound that muso journalists are still prone to name drop. Layers ands layers of guitar with some crisp drumming result in a dynamic range of styles from the ambient 'No more sorry' to the true speed mosh/shoe gazing 'sueisfine'. However my favourite is the outright sexual 'soft as snow' (but warm inside). Forget the 'dad rock' of Oasis this is why people will really mourn the demise of creation.
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on 16 May 2012
The sound quality is waaaaay better then the original release. It sounds less shrill, more warm, and has more depth and clarity. The original sounds thin in comparison.
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on 31 October 2012
Isn't Anything opens with machine gun snare pops and the fiddly bass intro of `Soft as Snow (But Warm Inside)', a song full of lysergic guitar chords and strange vocal hums that sound like a giant hulking Manga robot creaking to life and striding across the post-apocalyptic ruins of Neo Tokyo.
`Lose My Breath' seems to splutter over a slightly discordant acoustic dirge before Bilinda Butcher's breathy "ooh"s create an oddly haunting melody that can't but make your nerve endings tingle. Beneath the off-key guitars and whirring feedback of `Cupid Come' lies the pop sensibility of bands like the Byrds.
Kevin Shields has an uncanny ability to come up with unexpected and amazing chord progressions that seem to defy all sense of song-writing logic, and the progression in the verse to `(When You Wake) You're Still in a Dream' illustrates this perfectly. It is a song that seems to take punk into a new and exciting direction, with the urgency of A Minor Threat's straight-edge hardcore, but with a unique and undeniable sense of musicality.
`No More Sorry' is an absolutely heart-wrenching piece of music. I imagine that if an alchemist attempted to transmute a feeling of desolation and loneliness into musical form, `No More Sorry' would be the result. Its chord changes capture an overwhelming sense of dull aching sadness - this isn't self-indulgent teenage misery, it is a quiet, subdued sense of loss and genuine sadness.
`All I Need' foreshadows the intense wall of sound that characterised Isn't Anything's seminal follow-up, Loveless. The droned guitars reverberate and flood the mix with an almost unrelenting torrent of noise. I say almost because it always feels controlled, as if being gently guided by supernatural forces.
`Feed Me With Your Kiss' echoes Mudhoney's `Touch Me, I'm Sick' with its deep distorted bass riff, but there is a level of unabashed excessive noise and intensity that even Sonic Youth at their most chaotic might feel inclined to shy away from. I saw My Bloody Valentine play this song live, and the blast of white noise that comes near the end of the song was extended for about 20 minutes. The noise was so loud that my jeans were flapping, my septum started to tingle uncomfortably and it was impossible to remove my hands from my ears in fear that my brain might have blasted out of my head.
`Sueisfine' provides a welcome respite after the sonic brutality of `Feed Me With Your Kiss', with its jangly guitars and pop melodies. `Several Girls Galore' manages to produce a sugar-coated pop song with thundering drums and warped overdriven guitar chords that sound as if they are being stretched and contorted beyond recognition. `You Never Should' strikes you with bursts of guitar noise and fuzz-laden bass. It is a song that would drift into dreariness were it not for its amazing vocal melody.
`Nothing Left to Lose' bursts in with some of the strangest out-of-time drum rolls you could possibly care to hear. The guitar is light, and the rhythm driving. Sheilds' and Butcher's vocals work in bizarre harmony during the chorus - it shouldn't work, but sounds amazing. Isn't Anything closes with the stunning `I Can See it (But I Can't Feel It)', a gorgeous acoustic number held together by fat fuzzy bass and sensitive vocals, reminding me of the almost hummed sweet melodic tones of some of James Iha's solo efforts.

Jon Cronshaw
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on 31 January 2010 this ever going to come out?
i love this's one of the best examples of monged out guitar noise ever (alongside killers like skullflower's 'form destroyer' & les rallizes denudes' '77 live'). the original vinyl sounded great but the cd sucked. i'm dying to hear these remasters...speaking of which, when the heck is mr shields gonna put out the rest of the mbv catalogue??? everybody's waiting (about 2 years now) for these reissues, but they're the only mbv releases that it's been possible to find on cd since the early 90's...sort it out! and make some new music!
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on 8 February 2013
Hadn't heard this for years as I had it on vinyl. This is how indie used to sound - raw, loud and different. Modern 'indie' bands should take note ('scuse pun)
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on 11 May 2012
Its been a long time coming but its been well worth the wait. I have owned and loved this LP since it came out. The remastered version is like hearing it for the 1st time all over again.So thanks to Kevin ,it took a while but it was like I said it was worth that wait.
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on 10 July 2014
fantastic album, great price
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on 12 February 2002
A bone fide classic, wherein MBV came out from under the shadow of the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth and The Jesus And Mary Chain to forge one of the most accomplished guitar LPs EVER.
Incorporating the Cocteau Twins' swooning dreamscapes and Public Enemy's industrial funk (yes! - long before 'Glider' they were highly influenced by PE's 'Yo! Bum Rush The Show's churning, grinding beats and FX) along with a highly innovative use of microtones (sounds in between standard notes and chords made by bending their guitars' tremelo arms) Isn't Anything's songs aren't 'about' love, sex, emotions but SOUND AND FEEL LIKE love, sex, emotions - a veritable wind-tunnel of hyper-sensitised moments in and out of love and lust - this is what French philosopher Roland Barthes would have written his famous essay 'The Pleasure Of The Text' for if he'd been a music journalist - 'it cuts, it crackles, it comes - that is bliss'.
This music feels like the emotions coursing through your veins and nervous system, approaching but resisting the urge to dissolve completely into ambient abstraction, just as we all resist the urge to succumb to schizophrenia and death in our struggle through life. My Bloody Valentine's Loveless and Isn't Anything are two unique musical adventures that transcend any redundant stylistic ghetto that they may have inadvertently spawned.
(And for the record, I listen to as much music - avant-rock, electronica, classical, 20th C orchestral etc - as I have time and money to)
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on 17 March 2008
My Bloody Valentine's first full length album Isn't Anything was one of the most influential albums of the 1980s. It remains the best showcase of Kevin Shields guitar sound. This sound was achieved by means of continuous manipulation of the whammy bar on Shields' Fender Jazzmaster, combined with unusual guitar tunings (à la Sonic Youth) and a delay based effect known as reverse reverb. Such attention to detail was what created such a unique and often imitated guitar sound. On the other side of the coin, the production on Isn't Anything is very poor. The drums, in particular, sound very muffled and dull, definitely lacking in high frequencies. In fact the album in general suffers from a lack of clarity in the production.

Anyone who is curious to hear this album because they were impressed with Loveless, should be warned, Isn't Anything is much closer to conventional indie rock than Loveless. This is not to say that Isn't Anything is conventional however, songs like Lose My Breath and All I Need are genuinely transcendant. On the other hand there are other songs like You Never Should and Nothing Much To Lose that lean a little too much towards jaunty indie rock for my tastes. One final qualm I've have is that the tempos are a little sluggish on this album. Listening to the band's Peel Session or live bootlegs from that era, it is clear that most of these songs were usually much more energetic.

On the whole I think that Isn't Anything is a fine album, with some truly great songs and very original sounds. The influence of the Jesus and Mary Chain and Sonic Youth are much more obvious here than on later material, but My Bloody Valentine were a singular, unique even here. Isn't Anything's has been a very influential album; was the starting point for the shoegaze genre inspiring the likes of Slowdive, Ride, the Boo Radleys, Lilys, Yo La Tengo, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and many more. I would also recommend that anyone who likes this album should seek out the preceding EPs You Made Me Realise and Feed Me With Your Kiss.
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