in Review

My Bloody Valentine – MBV

I, like a lot music geeks, felt an undeniable rush upon the surprise news last Saturday that My Bloody Valentine had released their long-awaited follow-up to 1991’s Loveless.  However, I didn’t expect to get as excited as I did considering it’s not like Loveless is one of my favorite albums or anything, though I certainly understand all the acclaim that’s been piled on to it over the years because yeah, it’s a classic, no doubt about it.  But I suppose my excitement came from the fact that these kinds of mythic, tortured-over albums are not commonplace, as Chinese Democracy is the only other album that even comes close to having such an unbelievable amount anticipation thrown in it’s direction, though that album was not even remotely worth the wait.  I don’t know if I can say that MBV was worth taking 22 years to complete, but I can say that it doesn’t disappoint as a worthy follow-up to a great album.

Now that I think of it, I’m kind of glad that My Bloody Valentine isn’t a band that’s been around in the time that I’ve been reviewing new music, because dissecting this band’s sonic approach isn’t the easiest thing to do.  The sound of My Bloody Valentine at its best is really a force of fuzzy nature, as it has this ability to wash over you in unrelenting bursts of day-glo guitars and some of the most ethereal vocals you’ll ever hear.  And on MBV, it’s kind of disarming to hear how despite the 22 year gap, My Bloody Valentine manages to not miss a beat in terms of recreating that beautifully hazy sound that they perfected two decades earlier.

Though this is an album that I think will satisfy fans, it still shows MVB mastermind Kevin Shield’s ability to bridge the seemingly discordant gap between abrasive noise and luscious pop songs in new ways. The back half of the album in particular feels a bit more experimental than the first, especially the last two songs, “Nothing Is” and “Wonder 2”, which build to these ear-shattering climaxes in which it’s hard to even pinpoint exactly what noises you’re listening to.  I don’t know if these are the noises that Kevin Shields was hearing in his head when he started this album so many years ago, but I’m just glad he was able to come to terms with them and release them on the world.  Because despite all the bands that have tried to copy that My Bloody Valentine sound over the years, it’s hard to imagine anyone else doing it in such a simultaneously satisfying and effortless fashion.

Favorite Tracks: “Only Tomorrow”, “New You”, “In Another Way”