My Bloody Valentine released their second album, Loveless, on the same day my roommate was born.
In the same amount of time it takes someone to go from the womb to college graduation, My Bloody Valentine has been working on their third album, m b v, which was surprise-released on their website last weekend. Guitarist and producer Kevin Shields’s perfectionism paid off, because m b v is absolutely incredible.
Full disclosure: I’m a huge My Bloody Valentine fan, to the point where I had a You Made Me Realise shirt imported from England. Loveless is one of my all time favorite albums.
The first half of m b v consists of tracks that pack the same wall of reverberated guitars, drums and vocals that makes Loveless so appealing. The song “Who Sees You” literally could be an outtake from the Loveless sessions.
The second half is much harder to pin down sonically, as the band incorporates electronic influences in the sound. “New You” is a lower-tempo number dominated by hazy female vocals from guitarist Bilinda Butcher as well as a hypnotic and distorted bass line.
The remaining songs on the album are much faster paced, with the concluding song “Wonder 2” having its harsh instrumentation literally fade into what sounds like a jet engine around a relentless drum line.
If the album has any problem, it’s that it is overpriced at 16 dollars for only nine songs. However, it’s impossible to be angry when those nine songs are incredible.
It’s not uncommon for a band to disappear for 20 years only to return with a hastily recorded album reminiscent of their earlier and better work. It’s far more rare for the band to return with a great album that incorporates artistic development while retaining their signature sound. I hope My Bloody Valentine will record more music soon, because I can’t wait to hear it.
m b v is currently only available digitally from My Bloody Valentine’s website, mybloodyvalentine.org.
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JOHN KESLER can be reached at email@example.com.