Glider is the first of two EPs released by My Bloody Valentine during the extended recording sessions of their seminal release Loveless, considered by many publications to be a highlight of alternative rock and shoegaze – let alone music – of the nineties.1 The original 12-inch release – and the one whose tracklist was featured on 2012’s EPs 89-91 compilation – features four songs: one from the eventual Loveless release, and three non-album tracks.
“Soon” is nearly identical to the version on Loveless, with two exceptions: the absence of the flute-esque intro taken from the end of “What You Want,” and a different – albeit muffled – mix. Compared to the final mastering on Loveless, the Glider version of “Soon” is lacking. It’s still an excellent synthesis of dance music and alternative rock, but the mix is so rough that there’s no reason to prefer this version over that on Loveless.
The title track is an instrumental psychedelic shoegaze freak-out, with an abundance of creative force Kevin Shields’ “slide guitar” technique, which utilizes an absurd amount of tremolo and other pedals to create an airy, smooth guitar texture akin to electronic music. The track demonstrates Shields’ interest in jungle music and krautrock that would never be fully realized due to his self-described mental breakdown2 until the release of m b v in 2013. Fans of the latter third of m b v – especially “Wonder 2” – will appreciate “Glider.”
“Don’t Ask Why” is classic Isn’t Anything-pop, an album on which My Bloody Valentine were more of a shoegaze/indie rock synthesis rather than the full abstract shoegaze pop that is Loveless. Shields’ voice is prominent and free of the obfuscation that gave Loveless an ethereal texture. Rather than layer upon layer of guitar and effects, “Don’t Ask Why” is a relatively simple song with a single guitar lead (with backing) that sounds like an over-amped electric acoustic before the track launches into two-chord slide guitar strumming in the last half-minute.
Finally, “Off Your Face” links the indie melodies and songwriting of Isn’t Anything with the sublime of Loveless. Whereas “Don’t Ask Why” is straightforward in its production and vocals, “Off Your Face” utilizes the nasally, androgynous vocals similarly utilized by Shields & Co. on “Loomer” and “To Here Knows When” – both from Loveless. There is far, far less fuzz than either of those two tracks, with an electric guitar lead similar in construction to that on “Don’t Ask Why.”
Glider is a decent EP, both in context of the Isn’t Anything/Loveless interregnum and as a stand-alone alternative rock release. The lower production value of “Soon” makes that song easily replaceable with its Loveless equivalent; the other three tracks are enjoyable and should not be relegated to the dust bin that would harbor a lesser band’s b-sides. Check it out if you’re a fan of My Bloody Valentine and a fan of progressive, forward-thinking pop in general; see if you can fool someone into thinking this wasn’t produced a quarter-century ago.3
1. Soon – (7:00) – ★★★☆☆
2. Glider – (3:10) – ★★★★★
3. Don’t Ask Why – (4:03) – ★★★★☆
4. Off Your Face – (4:15) – ★★★★☆
1Check out listings at: http://www.besteveralbums.com/thechart.php?a=176#rankings
2Lester, Paul. “I Lost It | Music | The Guardian.” The Guardian. March 12, 2004. Accessed March 9, 2016. http://www.theguardian.com/music/2004/mar/12/2.
3And goddamn, that is a sexy album artwork. Ugh.