My Bloody Valentine-m.b.v.
Kevin Shields left our lives for all intents and purposes back in the early 90s. He would occasionally pop up on our radar in the form of threats of releasing a follow-up we never thought would actually appear. Shields also would leave the womb-like comfort of his studio for things like guest spots with the likes of Patti Smith. But no album would ever appear. Sometimes, the best gifts are those you wait years for. m.b.v. is that gift we’ve long waited for. If you’ve worshipped at the altar of Kevin Shields and My Bloody Valentine, you will not be disappointed with this offering 22 years in the making.
It’s the feeling of a warm blanket covering you from chin to toe. Your face still exposed to the chilled air, yet your body warms to the comfort of being in the womb again. ‘She Found Now’ is that blanket. It’s waves of lush distortion take you to a warm place. A place in the distant past, yet also a place not yet found. The warmth enraptures you until you’ve been lulled into an almost drugged daze, yet no narcotics are required for this buzz. ‘Only Tomorrow’ is layered with those fuzzy and unearthly guitars that have haunted our dreams and echoed in our headphones so much that they’ve become a part of us. Ghostly vocals wade the sonic waters, barely. Bilinda Butcher lays tethered whispers into the ribbon mic -like planting seeds of wishes and desires- knowing full well they will die in the soil.
Pop music never sounded this tortured and lovely.
‘Who Sees You’ is rock ‘n roll for the disenchanted. It’s the soundtrack to peeking behind the curtain and seeing the true mechanics of life itself. It’s learning how magic goes from something otherworldly to mere sleight-of-hand. Kevin Shields removes the wool from our eyes to show us fractured beauty. The ‘riff’ is a twisted melody, run through a pedal chain a mile long, and his voice remains not a centerpiece, yet another twisted melody within the DNA strand of what has been dubbed ‘shoegaze’. I call it rock ‘n roll, through the looking glass. ‘Is This and Yes’ is both the question and answer. The waiting period between wondering who you are and the moment of true identity. It’s pensive spirit is in the holding back. Wondering when the next wave of distortion will hit, and when it never does both relief and disappointment stare you in the eye. Bilinda Butcher delivers the news like a Siren calling from some non-existent plain. We gladly open our ears to her. ‘If I Am’ is another question hidden as a statement. That familiar shuffle rhythm just under a layer of melancholic guitar haze, Butcher giving us words not quite audible, as if singing the chord changes in sighs instead of words. Masking a sadness with beautiful haze, as if watching the last sunrise she’ll ever see. Here is a pop music; not in the sense of being “popular”, but in the sense that it makes your synapses pop in your brain. It charges and electrifies you. ‘New You’ is filling the airwaves and blaring through earbuds everywhere, in that alternate universe where things happen that are supposed to happen. In this universe, it will remain a certain fews beautiful little secret. Popular to those with truly open minds. Beautiful to those that have truly experienced beauty.
‘In Another Way’ wakes us from the lull of sleep. It makes those synapses pop once again, but in a different more dangerous way. Guitar lines, jagged and sharp, intertwine with a voice locked into a melody under the chaos. Then a synth and guitar create a noise somewhere between a bagpipe and car horn that temporarily pulls us from the manic pace. This is Kevin Shields’ bread and butter. This is what he does best: chaos and beauty, wrapped in a sonic structure that resembles a house of cards that you keep waiting to collapse but never does. ‘Nothing Is’ beats us into submission with what resembles jungle music looped and run through a Marshall stack at the volume of the Gods. ‘Wonder 2′ starts with a sound resembling an aircraft flying over, then underneath an organ appears and a breakbeat that sounds like it’s being run through a blown speaker. The androgynous vocals come in to speak to us, yet we can’t understand what they’re saying(of course). Soon, layers upon layers of guitars creep in and throw off our equilibrium. It sounds as if four different songs are playing at the same time, and we’re left to decide which one to concentrate on. It’s a fitting finale to a 22 years in-the-making album.
If Loveless never did anything for you then take heed, gentle listener. If you listened and never got what was so special about all that noise, then I don’t think m.b.v. is going to make a believer out of you. But if you hold My Bloody Valentine and their unique way of creating woozy, hazy and harsh sonic melancholy in very high regard, please come inside. If you let Loveless soak into your skin and your DNA and will always get chills whenever you hear songs like ‘To Hear Knows When’, ‘Come In Alone’ and ‘Sometimes’, then m.b.v. is the record you’ve been waiting for.
It’s definitely the record I’ve been waiting for.
9 out of 10