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.
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.
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.
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.
umm...is this ever going to come out? i love this album...it'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!