My Bloody Valentine
m b v
Fire Note Says: 22 Years later, My Bloody Valentine release m b v and it seems like this noise wall is only built on strength.
Album Review: It is Ralph Waldo Emerson that said “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”. Since their formation in 1983, it seems that My Bloody Valentine have continually followed that quote. It even seems to hold true today, as years later after many teases, a writer’s block induced breakdown, reconstructions, and dumped material we have the follow up to 1991’s Loveless which really is the mystic white whale or the SMILE of the shoe gaze community. I can say with sincerity, that while it’s not the landmark that Loveless is, m b v still rips a retro sound out of the 90’s that really only My Bloody Valentine can achieve.
MBV main man Kevin Shields knows how to take his sweet, damn time. A perfectionist at heart and if you remember while recording Loveless 18 different sounds engineers were used, so Shields does know how, if not exactly, coaxing out perfection. Still it seems a lot of his visions our intact here and there is a mystery of what or who is all really on the album. “She Found Now” opens the album like the slow bloom of a flower. The strong chord churn constructs a mighty stem, the cloud wisp vocals coo the petals open, and the undulating glimmers of bends and wails add the color. “Only Tomorrow”, immediately with Belinda Butcher, becomes romantically lucid and draws on a comparison to Loveless opener “Only Shallow”.
What I hear from this album is the music of process on any kind of scale, from scientifically microscopic to catastrophically rapturous. This next track, “Is This and Yes”, is one of those moments, the machines light up a with mechanical and electrical beauty, it seems to carry a triumphant H.G Wells like quality, a sort of weird hyper-realized future. “If I Am” thunders and twinkles at the same time, a strong back beat takes the lead but is overpowered by the melted haze that is Butchers vocals. It’s the concept that all songs sound very different and are very similar at the same time.
“In Another Way” almost seems to have prog rock likeness of The Mars Volta, it’s twisted and distorted snake charmer horn seems to jump right out of Frances The Mute (2005) or The Bedlam In Goliath (2008). But it then rights itself into a furious black hole swirl, a nice heat lined mirage guitar warbled in back over the distinct Butcher vocals. Soaring synth keys punctuate the after chorus breaks but then again, hearing about Shields twisted mind it could be a reconfigured guitar with taped tremolo or the way that the amps are placed around the mic. “Wonder 2” is the jet engine on the back of the album defies anyone that has said an end track cannot take off. A frantic pace has you flying high as the noise wall effect is actually permeated with a jet engine rush. The steely brush of drums carry the alien like blossoms of warm sound as the final seconds are jettisoned into the beyond.
It seems with m v b that the veteran status of My Blood Valentine is secured. As their combining sounds of old and new manage to make m v b a pretty interesting noise cocoon. Did they live up to the hype? Well yes and no, as it seems today in the digital age it’s really hard to make a timeless classic-our perception of art is always expanding. For that the things that really shine have usually been inspired/influenced by things of the past. But when so many bands are inspired by Loveless isn’t it a bit hard to beat yourself in that aspect?
Key Tracks: “She Found Now”, “If This and Yes”, “Wonder 2”
Artists With Similar Fire: Lush / Slowdive / Sonic Youth
My Bloody Valentine Website
My Bloody Valentine Facebook
-Reviewed by Christopher Tahy
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3 thoughts on “My Bloody Valentine: m b v [Album Review]”
I rather prefer your assessment of the record. A couple other reviews that I read via the google were far to harsh, if not in the review, but in the score. One even rated MBV as a 2.5 (out of 5), which is just not accurate.
This isn’t Loveless. The guy who recorded that record is long gone. What we have is someone that is more mature (and if he’s like anyone else our age, more mellow) and I think this album reflects that.
MBVs shimmer and roar is all here, it’s just less in your face and albums past.
Nicely put. This album just got bumped up on the ole “To Do” list.
What I love most about this album so far is the disparity of opinions. Some people are recoiling in horror, frustration, and anger. Others are embracing it without reservation. Even opinions on favorite songs have run the gamut; I’m not a fan of “if this and yes”, but it’s one of your key tracks.