One day, as I was surfing the Web trying to find the latest rumors as to why Kevin Shields destroyed the latest master of the new My Bloody Valentine album, I came across people offering this little tidbit of MBV esoterica for $80. Now, the last time I checked, Ecstasy and Wine was just a collection of two older MBV releases that were put together onto one disc and released on Lazy Records. It didn’t contain the longlost post-Loveless sessions, rare bootleg tracks, or some 50 minute remix done by Shields on his 4-track while high on dope.
Instead, what we hear is the kind of music that Shields et al. would use as the foundation for their later forays on Loveless and Isn’t Anything. Listening to this stuff, you realize how much MBV was really a contemporary of bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Velvet Underground, and even ‘60s pop groups like The Association, instead of the groups that they’re often lumped in with. Most of the tracks are jangly pop numbers, brightly chiming guitars and snappy basslines and drumming, over which Shields and Bilinda Butcher lay their incredible vocal harmonies.
It’s good stuff, but it ain’t worth $80. Ecstasy and Wine serves as a good example of where MBV was coming from, of their roots. It’s nothing compared to their later work, but it puts that stuff in context.