3. My Bloody Valentine – m b v
Even when Kevin Shields announced at the end of January that the long, long awaited new album from My Bloody Valentine would be out in “two or three days,” it was easy to laugh it off. It seemed it was just the next breadcrumb that fans had been hungrily eating up for the last 17 or more years. However, against all expectation, just under a week later m b v was released, announced through the band’s Facebook. As thousands were met with errors from the site struggling under the traffic, it would have been difficult to say whether the overriding feeling was one of excitement or morbid curiosity. Twenty-two years after Loveless – and a long time since the excitement around it had calcified into its status as an all-time classic – could a new album really live up to what we’d dreamed?
Every person had those doubts immediately assuaged when they first found themselves caught amidst the rapturous deluge of opening track “She Found Now”. It’s not a direct continuation of Loveless, but it’s still undoubtedly My Bloody Valentine–as inimitable as ever. The inchoate guitars provide more texture than melody, but the majority of these songs aren’t smoldering and explosive like previous efforts; they have the rich warm embrace of molten lava. As the circular caress of “Only Tomorrow” takes root in your brain, you can feel your neurons being churned up into warm butter; “If I Am” couples sun-dappled swirls with Belinda Butcher’s mellifluous tones to produce the aural sensation of a love swoon; “New You” has the stately chug of an intergalactic cruise liner gracefully moving through space.
Closing couplet “Nothing Is” and “Wonder 2” showcase MBV’s ongoing affair with divine (and distressing) dissonance, possibly pointing to where the band may go next – for Kevin Shields promises more material in the not-too-distant future. While it’s hard to take the man at his word, it’s undoubtedly intriguing. Nevertheless, if we did have to sit with m b v for a few years, we wouldn’t mind at all. –Rob Hakimian