Sound — 7
My Bloody Valentine is a band that's usually associated with ambient shoegazing, effect pedals, new-age drones, and self-indulgent use of feedback. The "Sunny Sundae Smile" EP captures the band before they became the indie legends they are now. Fans of the band's later work will be shocked at how different their musical direction was at this point in time. This EP shows the obvious influence of the new-wave and post-punk of the day; the thin sheets of feedback on the title track strongly recall The Jesus and Mary Chain's earliest work and the jangly strumming of "Kiss The Eclipse" could easily have been swiped off of a Smiths album. The sound of the "Sunny Sundae Smile" EP is one of a band who have yet to find their own voice. From sleazy crooning to distressed yelping, from jangly chords to sheets of noiee, from cheery dance grooves to frantic punk drumming, "Sunny Sundae Smile" encompasses almost every indie cliche of the day. Sounding at times like candy-coated 60's pop, at others like a crazed punk band, they deliver an enjoyable but inconsistent EP.
Lyrics — 1
This is a band who was not made famous by their lyrical ability. Even on their later work, the lyrics were often enough to make the most hardcore fans cringe (The infamous "You Made Me Realise" features the lyrics "come, come, come, Get the hell inside/You can close your eyes/ Well you might as well commit suicide/ Wait for me because I waited for you/ No that's not what you should do/ Don't hate me 'cause I don't hate you/ Insane eyes/ You made me realize"). The lyrics on this release are particularly terrible. Not only are they not congruous to the songs which they back, but they don't seem to be about anything in particular. The title track sounds like feel-good pop, but it's lyrics could be about anything from childhood memories to sexual intercourse to childhood memories about sexual intercourse, to pedophilia, to rape. Then-vocalist Dave Conway's poor singing skills often force him to yelp and strain his voice to reach the right pitch (which he rarely manages anyway). Try as I might, I can find no redeeming qualities to MBV's vocal and lyrical abilities at this point in time.
Overall Impression — 6
In the end, My Bloody Valentine's "Sunny Sundae Smile" is lost among hundreds of other new-wave/post-punk releases of the 80's. The noisy pop that they offered failed to stand out from the rest of the music of the time. All in all, it is a fairly confused EP on which the band have no clearly defined sound or objective. Each song is radically different, with "Sunny Sundae Smile" featuring an upbeat tempo and sheets of guitar noise, Paint a Rainbow makining use of crooned rather than yelped vocals, Kiss The Eclipse most resembling the future MBV with it's dreamy vocals and snare-heavy drumming, and Sylvie's head standing out as the strangest song of the bunch, an abrasive punk number that doesn't really seem to fit on this EP at all. On it's own, this release is nothing special, but to fans who wish to hear MBV prior to all of the ambient noise, this can be a fun listen.