Editor’s Note: The following represents the opinions of the author.The follow-up to My Bloody Valentine’s seminal 1990’s masterpiece “Loveless” is something of a lost album.
To say that the release of “MBV” was anticipated would be a massive understatement. Indeed, it would be more accurate to say that fans “anticipated” that it would never be released.
And here it is, 22 years later.
For the uninitiated – those who haven’t yet fallen under “Loveless’” spell – it may seem like music critics are making a huge fuss over something anticlimactic.
While that may or may not be missing the point, we can all rest assured because “MBV” is a brilliant album.
It’s not “Loveless,” nor is it “Loveless 2,” but in a way this album’s absurd delay stems from a real, serious desire to make music that isn’t tied to expectations.
My Bloody Valentine’s sound is hard to describe, but generally involves hazy waves of guitar noise as a highly textural backdrop for indecipherable androgynous vocals.
Their sound is attractive because it’s timeless and endlessly interpretable, and “MBV” is no different.
Opener “She Found Now” drops into the speakers as though 22 years haven’t passed; the song immediately cuts the listener off from any expectation and immerses them in a ballad a la “Loveless’” “Sometimes,” complete with a crust of guitar fuzz.
“Only Tomorrow” is where the band kicks things up a notch. Here, vocalist Bilinda Butcher delivers a siren-like vocal over a funky, distorted backdrop that builds to a veritable rush of sound.
“Who Sees You” follows suit, another six-minute slab of slow burning chords and screaming guitar riffs.
Once the ambient organ-based interlude “Is This and Yes” is over, the album gets restless, and it’s clear that the band wants to escape from their own expectations.
Where the first section of “MBV” is a thrilling reconstitution of the band’s former strengths, the latter section stakes out uncharted territory.
The turning point is “In Another Way,” driven by an insistent jungle rhythm, possibly leftover from the band’s alleged experiments with the genre post-“Loveless.”
“In Another Way” is a massive song that manages to incorporate bagpipes and icy synths without losing a blissed-out, spacious vibe.
The band closes “MBV” with further experimentation in “Wonder 2,” which sounds something like a helicopter crash turned into a pop song.
The experimenting comes off as genuine and exciting. While the latter portion of “MBV” takes some time to grow on the listener, this music is too addictive to not return to.
“MBV” is a welcome reminder that music need not be tied to a specific time or place, let alone genre. It’s an excellent listen that should stand the test of time; possibly even 22 years.
Rating: Four out of four stars.
Story: COLIN MOORE, A&E Reporter