Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Album Review: My Bloody Valentine -mbv

My Bloody Valentine
**** out of *****

The odd combo of the most anticipated and yet least likely releases of 2013 finds shoegazing pioneers My Bloody Valentine doing what it was they did best...all the way back in 1991.  Follow-up albums don't normally take this long unless you are Guns n' Roses so it was odd that the band just simply released mbv on their website (which immediately crashed) with almost no fanfare or warning.

Forever the critics darling, and rightfully so after the magnificent Loveless, My Bloody Valentine has crafted an album that sounds as if it was recorded immediately after it's famous fore-bearer not 23 years removed. That is a plus an also a bit of a minus, fans looking for an evolution in the band may find solace in the closing tracks of mbv, but for the majority of the time the group sticks to its bread and butter; layer heaping helpings of feedback, distortion and ambient rock into the listeners earhole.

"She Found Now" opens things with wandering mellow sound that should comfort fans as main Valentine Kevin Shields dreamy vocals take the back seat to his buzzing 6 string.  "Only Tomorrow" and "She See's You" picks up the rhythmic pace with a focus on the low end of bass and drums, injecting primal life into the music.  The keys/organ driven "Is This And Yes" mellows the mood before the shimmering "If I Am" with its layers of wah wah'ing vocals and escapists tendencies. The distinctly early 90's "New You" has a English Beat sound to it with thudding distorted bass leading things over the tambourine dance fills. 

The last three tracks are the most unique and interesting things presented here, the thumping but dance like drums flirt with electro-keys and a churing from the depths guitar riff on "In Another Way".  Belinda Butcher provides the ethereal vocals to this track as things threaten to break down with each chord change.  "Nothing New" is an overloaded instrumental number that borders on industrial with its hyper drums and marching sounding guitars.  Disk closer "Wonder 2" swirls chaotically as it builds and buzzes, soaring to heights mbv only hinted at with its previous offerings.

These closing tracks elevate the whole of the disk and by proxy Shields and company once again become a vital band; I guess if you wait long enough everything comes back around I can't wait to see what the the bands next release holds for us in 2035.    

I mentioned Loveless and how can you not when talking about MBV, but I must confess that album took a long time to grow on me.  It was no where near a love at first listen experience, I am guessing mbv will probably do the same, in fact it already has.  When I first heard this I thought it was simply leftovers from the mid nineties but those last 3 songs really add something new, and mixing that in with Shields old style works wonderfully upon multiple listens this gets better and better

The My Bloody Valentine sound of shoegazing dream pop isn't for everyone, but there are no bands that play this type of music any better then them, even if it takes the group a bit long to release albums.  Grab the new disk here, catch the band live here and peep some samples below:
"Wonder 2"

"Only Tomorrow"

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