My Bloody Valentine: mbv
The release of a new My Bloody Valentine album after the band’s 22-year silence might as well be the Second Coming of the indie rock world.
The band became one of the most pivotal and influential band in the “shoegaze” realm of alternative music in the early 90’s, almost entirely because of its last record, 1991’s Loveless, which is why the stakes for the follow-up were almost impossibly high. This is why mbv is almost equal parts excellent and strangely lackluster.
Released online with just a few hours’ notice, mbv quite simply sounds exactly like My Bloody Valentine; no more, no less. It could have been recorded the day after Loveless, if we didn’t know any better. All the band’s signatures are here: lengthy, droning songs of shape-shifting walls-of-guitar, muffled drums and dreamy, but buried vocals. “New You” and “In Another Way” offer nearly pop-like hooks and transcendent passages, respectively, and “Wonder 2” is a frantically swirly way to bring things to a close.
It’s refreshing that the group has lost nearly nothing in the past two decades, and frontman Kevin Shields proves he can still manipulate and warp a guitar like no one else (especially all the band’s copycats). But it’s also strangely anti-climactic that this is all there is: a record that sounds almost exactly like the one we’ve already got and hold up on that pedestal.
Where you stand on that side of the argument is up to you, though I’m sure no fan of the group could not like mbv, and if nothing else, it adds a few more fine songs to the group’s legacy. Just don’t expect anything earth-shattering.
You can purchase the album here.