Sound — 10
Released during the lull between Isn't Anything and Loveless, Tremolo (along with Soon, first debuted on Glider) must have seemed revolutionary upon initial release. Sonic Youth were the first to craft to actual melodies out of noise, and the Jesus and Mary Chain sounded vaguely pretty (if somewhat disgusted simultaneously); but noise had never sounded this beautiful. Tremolo was devised during the Loveless sessions: not surprisingly, the songs more closely approximate the Loveless sound than earlier material. Indeed, the classic To Here Knows When features here, albeit a slightly different version from the one found on Loveless. The main strength of Tremolo possibly lies in length: the relative brevity (due to format) makes the EP seem more varied than Loveless, whilst remaining equally consistent. Four tracks feature on the release: a dreamy masterpiece (To Here Knows When), a mellow strummer (Swallow), a fist-pumping rocker (Honey Power), and sheer noise crafted into a pop-song (Moon Song). To Here Knows When would be familiar to many of you, though I possibly prefer the version on Tremolo, as the little segue into Swallow is utterly gorgeous. Swallow features an almost psychedelic flute-sound (though it is probably some weird guitar effect) backed by a lovely guitar wash. Moon Song initially sounds like abstract noise; though is soon becomes clear the song is actually a pretty ballad, and the perfect example of not only shaping noise into melody, but something of beauty. Honey Power also stands as a testament to what satisfying rock songs the band was capable of writing.
Lyrics — 9
I should also mention the three gorgeous little segue pieces that also feature here. Kevin Shields claimed that these were initially written as stand-alone songs; however constraints of the EP format forced them to be sandwiched between tracks, most fans considering them as weird bits tacked onto the end of songs. These looped layers of guitar wash help to give Tremolo a certain cohesion and flow ordinarily absent from the EP format. The segue concluding To Here Knows When is particularly beautiful, as is the one following Honey Power, featuring lovely vocal oohs from Belinda just like how you imagine that cute, nerdy indie-girl at your local record store would sing. Speaking of singing, Belinda sings on three of the four tracks; Kevin only sings on Moon Song.
Overall Impression — 9
It seems kind of mandatory that I compare this release to Loveless, which is slightly unfair given how strong the material is here. No, Tremolo is not as great as Loveless; but a third the length why should it be? However, it seems that any release by My Bloody Valentine both past and (possible) future will suffer a similar and unfortunate fate. Many regard Tremolo similarly to Isn't Anything some sort of precursor to a greater work. And though whilst you can take a similar view, just enjoy Tremolo for what it is: a brilliant EP.