After last week’s speculation, the new album from My Bloody Valentine not only exists, it’s available right now! The long awaited follow up to 1991s Loveless, is named simply mbv, the album was launched at midnight on Saturday 2nd February. The album is exclusively available through the band’s website – after initially crashing, due to load, the site is now back up and running.
Much time has passed since the release of the critically hailed Loveless, rumours of whole albums worth of material that have been recorded then subsequently scrapped by the band have surfaced over the years.
My Bloody Valentine initially formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1983. They evolved a sound drenched in distortion, pitch bending, and reverb that lead to the release of the album Isn’t Anything. The intense droning guitars of the album built upon the sound of label mates The Jesus and Mary Chain, creating the foundations of the scene that would subsequently be described as shoegazing. The follow up album Loveless is regarded as a classic album and further defined the shoegaze genre for every band to follow. The sound created by My Bloody Valentine was something rare, it was guitar based music that was doing something new.
The new album picks up pretty much where Loveless ended, The sound isn’t a massive leap forward, more of a progression. In the years since Loveless, no other band has really managed to blend the sonic textures like they do – even twenty two years later the new album’s sound feels fresh.
The album kicks off with the track She Found Now, it’s so unmistakably My Bloody Valentine with the symphonic opening and pulsating bass washing over a buried Kevin Shields hushed vocal. The track builds up into a wall of sound whilst remaining gentle in its approach. The next song Only Tomorrow arrives with the volume turned up – guitars are brought to the fore with all manner of wails and feedback married with a punchy drum track and Bilinda Butcher’s vocals. The guitars evolve into a wonderfully twangy hook that plays out the end of the track and tells us that we aren’t going to just get a clone of Loveless.
Listen to Only Tomorrow:
Who Sees You is built around a swirling and repeating guitar riff that manages to create a beautiful melody with the return of Kevin Shields vocals. It is the strength of the production that a track like this can remain so melodic with a seemingly chaotic effect laden sea of noise churning below it. The guitars make a departure on the track Is This And Yes, replaced by keyboard and a blissful vocal from Bilinda Butcher, creating a calm in the proceedings. The calm is continued on If I Am, the layered drums and vocal feeling like a trip-hop lullaby. New You arrives and sounds the most like a conventional song so far; conventional in the way that it’s construction loses the wall of sound approach, in favour of a clean bass line and a gentle tremolo guitar over a pop melody.
The traditional sound returns with the track In Another Way. Noisy guitars return with pace and a jittering time signature, giving the song a disjointed feel that is held in check with spooky vocals and a breakbeat like drum pattern. The next track Nothing Is ramps up the tempo with a repeating guitar riff and pounding drum track, the whole song is a build up that ends before the perceived track ever begins. This comes across as odd in the scheme of the album but kind of sets you up for what happens next.
The brakes come off with the final track Wonder 2. The track is a chaotic wall of noise, underpinned by an almost drum and bass beat. Unlike the previous songs, this track doesn’t have a key part that holds it together. The track is messy but also very interesting, verging on ambient noise that runs out of control for its duration; it isn’t a bad track but doesn’t feel right on this album especially as a closer.
On the whole, the return of My Bloody Valentine is a huge success and well worth the wait – even if it has been twenty two years. The tracks are very accessible with some of their best songwriting on show. I would definitely recommend checking this album out – if you have been waiting for this album since 1991 or you are new to the band and you are curious to hear from the people who pretty much invented the shoegaze scene back at the beginning.
The album is available now on vinyl, CD and digital download from the band’s website www.mybloodyvalentine.org.
1. She Found Now
2. Only Tomorrow
3. Who Sees You
4. Is This and Yes
5. If I Am
6. New You
7. In Another Way
8. Nothing is
9. Wonder 2