You Made Me Realise – EP

1. The title track fuckin’ kills, but everyone knows that already. Four minutes of unkempt, throttling punk energy that thrums and hisses and screams along like a speeding car down a highway. It’s so cool, in fact, that it barely even needs guitars: the bass is so fucking loud and distorted. And the tones blow me away – distant, wailing guitars, the heavy crack of the snare, the guttural churn of the bass overpowering everything else. If you asked me what song sums up the very late 90’s independent rock, this’d be it: it’s not quite post-punk, not quite noise rock, not quite hardcore, but mostly it’s all of them in their most raw, aggressive forms. Oh yeah, and that middle section is just fucking perfect. “Holocaust section” indeed. Sonic Youth must’ve been proud.

2. Ignoring the godawful lyrics, “Slow” actually kicks a lot of ass… though I suppose you could say that about every song on the EP. But a problem: Kevin Shields can’t sing. Though later efforts would pretty much nullify this problem, it’s especially obvious here: guy just can’t hold a fuckin’ tune, and he’s got this annoying, half-nasal half-detached warble of a voice that fails to engage me. Thankfully even on these early projects he’s got a good sense for texture, though not necessarily expansive or deep ones – ones achieved through smart mixing and good tones. Again, awesome bassline; hazy keyboards that waver off and on pitch; a final 30 seconds heavier than anything else they’d do after. I like the part where he sings “Slow, slow, slow, sloooow, slow,” with a slight dip on the fourth one. Solid.

3. “Thornis the closest thing here to the material on Loveless or Isn’t Anything, and it’s pretty good. I’m actually kicking myself for not noticing the distant, heavenly backing vocals after the second hook until just now – brilliant detail on an otherwise pretty straightforward song. And dig the snare fills near the end. Another solid track.

4. My favorite on the EP, besides the title; “Cigarette In Your Bed” is the most melodic thing here, not to mention the prettiest, with Bilinda Butcher delivering a typically angelic performance. Coincidentally, it’s also the only song where the bass is pushed back in the mix quite a bit – Butcher earns her front spot on this one, and the snarling guitars that break into the last minute of the tune are strangely charming. The way the acoustic is mixed is especially well done – those resonant, shimmery highs. Like Slowdive, but good.

5. And “Drive It All Over Me” is just lovely! God, doesn’t Bilinda Butcher just make everything great? I kinda wish Shields had realized a little earlier she was made the tunes work – could’ve made “Slow” a little less embarrassing. Still, great, great song: the bass on this one is actually pretty loud too, but Butcher has a way of singing over and above the whole mix so her words just sort of drift dreamily by. Great tune, too, and surprisingly easy to sing along to. Favorite moment: “Get in the car and drive it all over me!” *silence* *hook*

You Made Me Realise has been a little overrated over the years, I think, because it’s so solid as a whole – you’d be hard-pressed to find another EP from the decade it came out in that was so uniformly terrific (aside from R.E.M.’s Chronic Town.) But it’s great nonetheless, and the start of a really impressive three-year run for My Bloody Valentine. Better than Isn’t Anything, not as good as Loveless. Hazy Saturday mornings.

A

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