After twenty two painful years of waiting for a follow up to Loveless, My Bloody Valentine surprise again with their unexpected return. Fellow shoegazers repeatedly questioned over the years if the band can ever outdo what has been done in Loveless. The world did not sleep on the night of 2 February 2013, the date when MBV, the band’s latest album was released and made available for online purchase on the band’s website.
Early My Bloody Valentine, one of the pioneering forces of shoegaze and noise pop was the result of an instant friendship formed between front man Kevin Shields and drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig. The two of them immediately undertook a musical journey, forming the punk band Complex in 1979, but quickly altered their musical direction to hypnotically droney compositions made of multi-layered guitars and vocals. After moving quite a bit: from Ireland to the Netherlands and from there to Germany, England and the States, the band finally settled in London. After much hassle, the band’s debut album Isn’t Anything was released in London by Creation Records in 1988. Their second album Loveless took an even longer and more complicated process to make. The recording took two years and was made in at least nineteen different recording studios. This was in 1991. No one could foresee the long break that would follow Loveless.
MBV, the band’s third record produced entirely by Shields features nine tracks, some of them recorded prior to the breakup of My Bloody Valentine in 1997 and others recorded after the band’s reunion in 2007.
“She Found Now”, the first track on the album is a welcome reminder that it is My Bloody Valentine we are listening to and not some washed up copy. The sweet guitar noise and indecipherable vocals slowly reveal a haunting hidden melody which lies down buried somewhere in every My Bloody Valentine song. And as the melody sticks to you, the haze of soft distortion loses its dominating sound and becomes a shelter.
“Only Tomorrow” has a more psychedelic feel to it. The vocals and the slow melancholy have a lingering Brit Pop feel. But it’s Brit Pop on acid! In the second part of the song the guitars and rhythm become more dominant and the distortion slowly fades away swirling through the song.
“Who Sees You” is otherworldly. It connects a beautiful haze of distorted noises with a sixties pop sounding number. Kevin’s almost whispering vocals can be heard on this song. The composition of the song is similar to some library music masterpieces but with the addition of sweet guitar fusion.
“Is This And Yes” starts with a Stereolab stellar keyboard and some space age sound effects. The track is a celestial and spacy intermezzo that lingers on beautifully paving the cosmic voyage to “If I Am” which continues the mellow ride, constructing a beautiful pop interlude in the middle of the album.
“New You”, the least distorted track on the record features a constant beat, bass-y groove and a darkly pop melody sang in Bilinda Butcher’s soft vocals.
Next up is “In Another Way” which is an interesting novelty. The band not only proves that they can still work out a fast paced song like in their early days, but that the band’s ideas are as innovative as before, pushing the limits of genre to a new direction. The track starts off with a sound of bagpipes until the distorted guitars take over.
Another song on the record is “Nothing Is”. This is a highly rhythmic and repetitive track which creates a fusion of madness and pumps up the expectation for what appears to be an instant masterpiece on MBV – “Wonder 2”.
“Wonder 2” is the final track on the album and one that will leave you eager for more. It is a return to the first part of the album – the disoriented sixties pop, featuring spectral phasing and numerous effects and filters. It sounds like a Brian Wilson piece during the Smile Sessions, but interrupted by a keyboard which comes in and goes out and some great drum and bass all mixed together perfectly by Kevin Shields.
My Bloody Valentine’s MBV with its nine tracks reaches a new genre of atmospheric music using distortion and noise as a means of creation rather than statement. This magnificent new album is now available on limited 180 gram vinyl at Music Record Shop. A bonus CD edition is also included. For those who sign up for the newsletter, there’s $5 off the first purchase offer!