21 years later and My Bloody Valentine are back with M B V, the type of album you can easy lose yourself in for years to come.
When I first heard that My Bloody Valentine were planning to release a new album, my reaction was one of incredulity and tempered excitement. I was hopeful at the prospect of a new My Bloody Valentine record â it has after all been 22 years since the release of their 1991 classic Loveless â but there was that niggling feeling of âIâll believe it when I see itâ. Thankfully, my reservations were unfounded, and My Bloody Valentine released their new album M B V with little fanfare through their website.
Album-opener âShe Found Nowâ is slow and brooding, with gentle whispered vocals, the bizarre twisted distortion and sonic textures that made Loveless so engaging. âOnly Tomorrowâ offers a departure from the usual surge of noise, and offers up something a little more subdued: laid back beats combine with sumptuous melodies to create something that is both densely textured and spacious in its effect. The guitar sounds as if it is in a state of constant hesitation, like it is striving towards all-out noise, but some unseen force is holding it back.
âWho Sees Youâ brings to mind the bent and twisted sound waves of tracks like âI Only Saidâ and âTo Here Knows Whenâ. This track is truly awesome – and I donât use that word lightly. The interplay between the subtle layers of fuzz-laden guitar, thunderous, echoic drums, and honey-dripping vocals made the hairs on my neck stand on end. âIs This and Yesâ treats us to waves of twinkling synths and whispered vocals. Itâs a piece of music that pulls you in gently and washes over you like soothing warmth. On first listen, it is easy to dismiss it as filler, but on about the third listen, the subtle genius of the track hits you.
âIf I Amâ drifts around punchy syncopated rhythms and dreamy guitars that pulse like gentle waves. âNew Youâ is probably the most straightforward song on the album, its bass groove and noodling synths reminiscent of some of Brian Eno and David Byrneâs later collaborations. Itâs about as poppy as youâre going to get from My Bloody Valentine, and itâs a truly excellent piece of music.
âIn Another Wayâ is frantic and layered, with rumbling beats clashing against floods of twisted guitars and orchestral synths. Itâs a gutsy piece of music that gives no concessions to the casual listener, and confronts you with an all-out sonic beating. The uneasy listening continues with the minimalist rock dirge of âNothing Isâ. Itâs hinged around a single guitar loop that builds in intensity. Itâs a strange track that leaves you scratching your head, while at the same time pulling your jaw towards the floor.
Album-closer âWonder 2â throws us into an abyss far beyond the outer reaches of the rock genre. On first listen, it is barely recognisable as a song in the traditional sense, but suddenly the floods of white noise, contorted guitars, and frenetically detailed hypersonic beats hit you, and you find yourself in absolute awe. This is an astonishing track, the possibility of which was only hinted at with tracks like âSoonâ and Kevin Shieldsâs revolutionary reimagining of Primal Screamâs âIf They Move Kill âEmâ.
M B V is an exceptional album that keeps its foot firmly in the past whilst simultaneously breaking new ground. Â Itâs a record that I look forward to getting lost in for many years to come.
You can check out M B V for yourself here at My Bloody Valentine’s websiteÂ