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CD: My Bloody Valentine - m b v | reviews, news & interviews

CD: My Bloody Valentine - m b v

CD: My Bloody Valentine - m b v

Over 20 years late, the sonic voyagers return to put the pretenders in their place

My Bloody Valentine's 'm b v': a return that recalibrates diluted notions of who they are

It’s not much of a surprise that My Bloody Valentine have eventually followed up 1991’s Loveless. They’ve been playing live with increasing regularity, with the same line-up as back then. The way the new album has arrived – with no warning via a new website – isn't so surprising either. Despite the widespread co-opting of their sonic template, what is surprising is how much m b v sounds like My Bloody Valentine.

Being confronted with the real thing is a jolt, putting the pretenders in the shade. m b v is as beautifully opaque and seductive as Loveless, sounding like nothing other than Kevin Shields’ vision. His time in Primal Scream and his work with Patti Smith have had no impact. Both restatement and reclamation, this return recalibrates notions of who the band are, and it's a belated reminder that there’s nothing like the real thing.

The first three tracks could slot into Loveless, although the momentary, curt guitar solo on “Only Tomorrow" brings a new angle. Instead of subsequently finding cruising altitude, m b v dives off elsewhere. After "Who Sees You”, third up, abruptly stops, “Is This and Yes” warps the most ambient side of The Beach Boys' Smile. Its shifting patterns and wordless vocals could be a soundtrack for lying on a scudding cloud. From this point on, m b v takes on a new intimacy. The stuck groove repetition of “Nothing Is” (which could potentially stretch out live) aside, a softness defines this more mature, less agitated, happier My Bloody Valentine. “New You” even nods towards a Saint Etienne-like popiness. Stereolab come to mind too. Yet the closer, “Wonder 2”, still jars as it climbs and climbs.

There’s a caveat though. m b v is, for now, only available as a download (this review came after burning the download to a CD). It was recorded in analogue and meant for vinyl. The album version ships to the world on 22 February. Only after that will the m b v envisaged by Shields reveal itself. Until then, then.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

'm b v' is beautifully opaque and seductive, sounding like nothing other than Kevin Shields’s vision


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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