"You Made Me Realise EP" covers the first five tracks. Much closer to the Byrds business that was so prevalent in the late (but not that late) Eighties; but all the germs are there. The abrasive noises that would come further and further to the front loom slightly underneath the mix and would in the future pass right through our perspective, leaving only ghostly echoes of themselves. "Thorn" in particular. "Cigarette in Your Bed" (not a tune I've heard before I think) has more of the Loveless checkpoints than most of the tracks, just still a little pacey. One day soon, the drums would leave pretty much entirely - but not yet. "Drive It All Over Me" almost sounds like PWEI by comparison; but those proto-pedals are being pushed away from the metal. Interesting lyric too: "Get into your car/Drive it all over me."
"Feed Me With Your Kiss EP" was next, a bit later in 1988. The title track has been nudged on a bit by the first waves of grunge from the States - Mudhoney, Dinosaur, etc. (Would that be fair?) But the fairground swirl is still churning underneath, darkly brilliant. Hadn't heard "I Believe" before either - but it has corroded sounds dropping out throughout and blown-out bass bins undercutting a vaguely sunny Stooges piano-led pop tune. "Emptiness Inside" is much the kind of title I expect: it scoops and swoops as you'd expect, but with harder edges. A big bass drum opens "I Need No Trust", which is a little atypical, and the singing sounds slightly like the backwards dwarf on Twin Peaks. Velvet Underground closer to the surface?
Then "Soon". Nothing to say about that. Timeless and awesome. Music I can see myself remembering on my death bed. One of the keystones of my annus mirabilis. Kevin Shields, indie's very own Skynet, is beginning to instruct the machines to take over. "Glider", the title track of the EP, sets the controls for the heart of the bit of the brain that has to deal with repetitive, looped noises. Melody returns for "Don't Ask Why" in its own way and on "Off Your Face" ends with an incredible morphing of half-monkey, half-bent string chatter into a hazy, slightly disturbing outro.
Then we're on to the "Tremelo EP", which has the full cassette-left-out-in-the-sun blistered and woozy sound. There are technologies that will travel between stars, creating noises like this as they do so on "To Here Knows When". "Swallow" is much busier than I remember - bells and whistles prefiguring the likes of Loop Guru perhaps - with an extra bit of spooky noise on the end. "Honey Power" builds up with just that, layer after layer of gloopy sweetness. By the intro to "Moon Song" the drift off into structureless delight seems complete. It has the wistful air of a musical number, something out of a psychedelic version of Paint Your Wagon or something.
Then there are some other tracks that appeared on various 7inch releases and remix collections. "Instrumental No 1" rips off the same drum pattern as Madonna's "Justify My Love", which I always assumed was originally from Public Enemy's Nation of Millions, but now I'm not sure. Ghostly guitar noises are traced over the top. "Instrumental No 2" is much more about the thrashy, buzzing guitars again - but with a kind of Dick Dale atmosphere buried underneath the squall. The full ten minutes plus of "Glider" ends with a great reverberating bassaclysm. Then there are four previously unreleased and remastered tracks; and it's fairly easy to hear why they were unreleased. They don't offer a huge amount of newth or expansion on what has already been released. "How Do You Do It" perks my ears up the most but the dog-like guitar sounds in the background crop up in plenty of other places in the back catalogue.
I meant to make a point about how MBV titles are much more mundane than the gobbledygook ones from Cocteau Twins; but I forget what the point was. Ah, well.
Rating: Untouchable out of Awesome Wooze