It’s officially here. My Bloody Valentine‘s follow up too their epic 1991 album, Loveless, is in our hands. We can finally hear what has been going through the mind of front man, Kevin Shields‘, head. 22 years is too much to wait especially when a band just reaches their prime. Loveless was an album that defined the 90’s, and is arguably in the same influential ‘league’ as albums like Nevermind by Nirvana. mbv has been edited, rearranged, scraped, and even forgotten about for over two decades, and the honeymoon period is over. Here are the facts about this mysterious album.
For anyone unaware of the band, think Dr. Dre of alternative rock. mbv is practically the Detox of their respective genre. Many fans of the 90’s shoegazers have been waiting hand and foot on the band to release any hints of new material. Coincidentally, Shields’ has been spewing statements claiming, “This is the year!”, since the release of Loveless. Luckily, with the help of their Facebook page, we finally got a cement statement by the band. mbv will be out and into our hands after a generation of waiting.
It opens up with a very straightforward ‘MBV’ sounding track, ‘She Found Now’. The song is a nostalgia-packed track that hits you harder than watching family videos. The fuzz effects on the guitar and Shields’ vocals are stronger than ever. You then arrive at Loveless-like song, ‘Only Tomorrow’. You finally get to listen to Belinda Butcher‘s vocals like old times, and they still rock out like crazy. This track has a steady, heavy, and grinding drum track that blends in perfectly with the guitar riffs. The best moments here are when the guitar mutes for a split second and you get a piece of silence. Once the distortion picks up it really hits you that this album was aimed to be perfect.
Like Loveless, you do have a track that acts like a transition. The differemce is on the 1991 album, it’s only a minute long. On mbv, it is just over five. If you’ve heard the album already, you’re jumping ahead, because ‘Is This and Yes‘ could have easily been two minutes MAXIMUM. Now I don’t want to take anything away from this album to early in the review, because it is as good as Loveless, but seriously, FIVE MINUTES. Fine, that’s it. Only good words now about it.
Now you do get your songs that don’t really push the album into the stratosphere of greatness, but don’t bring it down. ‘If I Am’, and ‘New You’ are strong hits that MBV gave to the listener because they seem to be more accessible. What puts the album into the ‘Holy-shit-this-is-what-I’ve-been-waiting-for’ stage is the final three tracks. When I heard ‘In Another Way’, I froze. It was as if I was hit by Kevin Shields’ blazing guitar riffs and it kept me still until the final seconds of the last track, ‘Wonder 2’. It was an indescribable feeling, because my mind was floating without any worry or sadness. I’ve never had this effect with music, but it was amazing. The droning measures of fuzzed out chords and drums make you drool without even noticing. It’s what we’ve always wanted in a comeback album.
Anyone unsure about picking up this album should change their mind instantly. Just the story behind this LP should be enough to set aside 45 minutes and give it a whirl. For me, the 22 years really did have an effect on what I expected going in. If there was any album that had to live up to an enormous amount of hype, it was this. Not only that, it exceeded with flying colors. The entire composition of tracks fit together like a puzzle. I like to think of it as an explorer struggling to find the new world, but after decades of searching he finally conquers his dreams and goals. Kevin Shields and My Bloody Valentine really showed the music world their full potential. Don’t be hoping for newer material soon though. It might be another 30 years before we hear of anything from the band!
Listen to the opener here: