An archetypal classic

From the opening distorted scuzz of ‘Only Shallow’, it is clear this album was going to break ground. The debut, ‘Isn’t Anything’, showed a clear intention to register a sound very different to the developing indie scene.

Kevin Shields was the mastermind and reluctant frontman to the band and, whilst receiving significant critical acclaim at the time, it was only in later years that the intensity, dexterity and influence gained full recognition. ‘Loveless’ was the band’s second and final album; it took almost two years to complete via a total of nineteen recording studios and came close to bankrupting Creation Records.

Had any of those things not occurred, one wonders how far short of the complete article the album might have been! Experimenting with the whole sound process, from controlled feedback to vocals buried deep in the mix, yet with a delicate precision that creates an absorbing record; one which not only stands the test of time, but transcends it. Songs like ‘When You Sleep’ sound as inventive now and would outshine much of the crop of young pretenders.

A travesty perhaps then that Shields never felt the compulsion to produce a further opus, even beyond the band, preferring to step behind the limelight. Conversely, it is difficult to imagine him being able to surpass what remains an archetypal classic.


Words by TC

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