My Bloody Valentine

mbv

Written by: BV on 04/02/2014 18:21:58

Honestly, I’d never imagined that I would be sat here in my room writing a review of the new My Bloody Valentine record. Initially it wasn’t meant to be, as one of our other writers had called the inevitable dibs on the record – leaving me to just listen, take it in and try to comprehend the very essence of this album without writing a review – a process I have grown out of practice of, ever since acquiring this writing gig. As luck would have it however, the task of reviewing “mbv” fell into my hands anyway here in 2014 – explaining why this review has been so disastrously delayed.

But where do I start? Well, maybe I should start by underlining the importance of “mbv” and the comeback of My Bloody Valentine. For nearly 22 years, fans of the band have waited anxiously for the day to come when Kevin Shields and the rest of My Bloody Valentine would release a follow-up to “Loveless” – a genre-defining masterpiece in its own right. Some maintained hope whilst others abandoned the cause out of a sense of mild despair at the very thought that a new album might not ever see the light of day. – But now, or rather a while ago, the hope revitalized with the release of “mbv”. Some listened with a mild fear of the album being a flop whilst others had excruciatingly high hopes for the album. What most of us had in common though is that the album effectively surprised us for the most part.

As the comeback opens with “She Found Now”, what strikes me the most is perhaps the subtlety of the track. It’s a bold move to open with such a low-key sounding song, yet somehow it seems to be the most natural thing on earth for My Bloody Valentine. What carries this ballad is actually quite simple, as the main ingredients can be found in Shields’ near-whisper vocals and the ever-so-deep strumming of the melancholic chord structures. There’s really nothing groundbreaking to the track – rather it sees My Bloody Valentine picking up where they left off; by playing the same genre-defining piece of rock music which they perfected at their very peak.

As the album progresses into “New You”, the soundscape is pushed towards the strangely androgynous with singer/guitarist Bilinda Butcher handling the vocals alongside Kevin Shields. It’s not the first track on the album which sees them do this, however it is the most effective of them. It’s strangely sensual, highly minimalistic yet altogether ethereal at once, as the miniscule layers of percussion form a foundation for the tremolo-laden guitar parts and the coupled vocals to rest firmly upon in this shoegazing, almost essential point of the album.

At the end of the journey through this album, the band comes up on “Wonder 2”. In some people’s opinion this is the defining sound experiment for the group as they toss aside any notions of adhering to form in favor of surrendering to a wall of cacophony, shimmering organs, fuzzy guitars and utter droning. I, personally, see it as the perfect close to a highly unexpected comeback – bookending an album, or a sonic journey if you will, which started off in the absolutely minimalistic and strangely subtle fashion of “She Found Now”, evolving all the way into the cacophonic, rambunctious freak-out that is “Wonder 2”.

As the astute reader might have picked up on, I am quite thrilled with this album. In terms of comebacks I most definitely regard My Bloody Valentine as being highly successful with this album and should the case be that there will never be another album from their part, at least we now have another great piece of work to add to the collection without any sort of indication of a forthcoming deterioration of the album’s quality.

Download: She Found Now, Who Sees You, New You, In Another Way, Wonder 2
For the fans of: The Telescopes, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Slowdive
Listen: Facebook

Release date 02.02.2013
Self-released


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