Eamon Sweeney reviews the first My Bloody Valentine album in 22 years...
"We are 100 percent going to make another My Bloody Valentine record unless we die or something," stated Kevin 'Punctuality is My Middle Name' Shields in 2007.
Fortunately, no one has died. On midnight on February 2, 2013, an album finally arrived that even My Bloody Valentine's staunchest fans thought would never see the light of day.
While there are recent precedents to the release of m b v — Radiohead's pay what you like experiment for In Rainbows, the shock release of David Bowie's 'Where Are We Now?' — in terms of a sense of occasion that dramatically scripts a happy ending after a staggering 22-year long wait, this one blows them clean out of the water.
Whether it lives up the hoopla or not depends on one fundamental fact: whether or not you like My Bloody Valentine or not in the first place.
If you consider them to be a slightly strange, bewildering entity — or to be blunt, a load of overrated art-rock cobblers — m b v won't dramatically alter your opinion. If Loveless is your sonic bible, dive in. It's Valentine's Day.
By their own mind-melting standards, m b v isn't so much a dramatic departure as a more fully realized and refined take on the classic Valentines' sound. Loveless opened with Colm Ó Ciosóig's pounding drum intro and walls of noise, m b v is a little bit more understated with gentle wafts of Shields' trademark guitars and a dreamy vocal on 'She Found Now'. Then, Shields let rip with a mammoth riff on 'Only Tomorrow', one of the album's two best tracks.
So far, so Valentines, and just wait until you hear m b v taking some delicious detours in the second half. On the last three tracks the Valentines redefine the phrase finishing on a flourish. 'Nothing' Is is a relentless blast of noise that's laden with tension, building and building but never quite reaching the crescendo you quite expect. This one will be shredding eardrums alongside 'You Made Me Realize' at this year's gigs.
'Wonder 2' offers a slight clue at what Kevin and Colm's abandoned jungle inspired project might have sounded like, but is far too mind-meltingly odd to fit neatly near any genre.
After more than two decades years, My Bloody Valentine have delivered nine tracks and 46 minutes of beautiful madness to luxuriate and get completely lost in. While it will preach to the converted rather than find a new audience, who cares when their comeback sounds this good?
Worth the wait? Hell yeah, better late than never.
KEY TRACKS: ' Only Tomorrow', 'New You', 'In Another Way', 'Nothing Is', 'Wonder 2'
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