Wednesday, 6 February 2013

My Bloody Valentine - m b v

It’s hard to remember the last time that the release of a record made this much of a universal impact. In 2013, it’s becoming clear that release dates are starting to become devalued. As music is so readily available on the internet and leaks appear for almost every album – sometimes the excitement around an album will have faded before it even gets a chance to be physically released. For My Bloody Valentine however, things have worked out differently. There are very few bands that can announce an album hours before it’s released but MBV are one of them. Whilst some have waited 22 years, suddenly everyone grew impatient and attempted to break their f5 button in order to buy the record. However, there was the thought in the back of a lot of people’s minds that perhaps we were all just overwhelmingly excited for a new album that we would settle for whatever we heard in the 46 minute duration.

For many, it has been an agonisingly long wait for the follow up to My Bloody Valentine’s seminal record, Loveless. So long that many were unsure if MBV would ever get around to releasing a new album. And who could blame them? After releasing the album that influenced so many other albums, the weight of expectation on Kevin Shields and co. to recreate or improve upon their previous efforts pretty much drove the band crazy. There have been rumours circulating of shelved albums, jungle-inspired material from Shields and side projects including featuring a more serene sound on the Lost in Translation soundtrack with ‘City Girl’ but finally, we have My Bloody Valentine’s third album, the imaginatively titled, m b v.

The first three songs sound like Loveless in slow motion - Shields lingers on every word, draping his vocals over the distinct, grainy guitars. You can hear that every movement, every word, every key change, has been agonisingly slaved over and perfected until exhaustion. And the slow, subtle sensuous side to My Bloody Valentine rears its head, which is accentuated by Shields’ vocals trailing off into a delicate whisper on several occasions. However, this is by no means Loveless 2.0. Single-worthy ‘New You’, is the nearest to pop that MBV have ever come. Never ending wah-wah guitar, a throbbing bassline and vocals that are surprisingly present and clear compared with the first half of the record – it’s very 90s reminiscent but works regardless.

Elsewhere ‘Is This and Yes’ sees Bilinda Butcher take lead vocals on a mystical, heavily electronic number that’s hard to imagine being on the same album as the mind-bending noise of ‘Wonder 2’. The closer to m b v is disorientating to say the least as a sample of a plane taking off roars and a drum n’ bass drum beat clash violently with Shields’ gentle vocals. It’s a sonic apocalypse in the best possible way and undoubtedly the closest that MBV have come to recreating the effect of the holocaust section of You Made Me Realise live, on record.

There’s something for everyone to take away from m b v. Loveless fans, those hoping for more in the direction of ‘City Girl’ and people who’ve been to see MBV live and wanted a recording that even attempted to rival the shattering noise of their shows. Kevin Shields mentioned in an interview that when Loveless came out, it fitted in with journalists’ usage of flowery language and this time around, it’s not going to be any different. My Bloody Valentine have still yet to disappoint.


Aurora Mitchell

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