After over 20 years of waiting, Irish shoegazers My Bloody Valentine’s new album “m b v” was released Feb. 2. Some reviews of the album came only hours after its initial release, a definite casualty of the hype a new record from this notoriously reclusive band brings.
“She Found Now” opens the album where the influential 1991 album “Loveless” left off: Fuzzy, washed guitars via guitarist/vocalist Kevin Shields and additional vocalist/guitarist Bilinda Butcher. In the middle of this is Shields’ drowsy, dreamy vocals and definable guitar. His lyrics are a bit hard to understand, though that’s some of the charm of his vocals. Mixed with the other music going on, it’s almost like another instrument, able to be controlled as much as the whammy bar-influenced guitar playing Shields is famous for.
A lot more experimentation went on with this record than I expected. “Who Sees You” has a danceable, shaking drum part, and the guitars follow suit with their buzzsaw tendencies, shaking and rattling.
“If I Am” has a washed-out wah-type sound as steady as its pattering drum beat.
“New You” has an indie-dance feel to it with its bouncing tambourine and punchy bass. Butcher’s vocals are audible and un-obscured by guitar noise or other extreme sounds – a pleasant-sounding indie tune.
“In Another Way” takes the record into different territories. A frantic drum beat and static, rumbling guitars and bass, the standout parts are the bridges with melodic, yet buzzing guitars. Butcher again takes the vocal reigns here. At five and a half minutes, the experimentation is well worth it and delves a bit more into the mindset of Shields as he was finishing the record.
“Nothing Is” takes the frantic drum beat to a different level. It’s almost like a sample of a Nine Inch Nails song was looped over and over. The repetitive nature of the drums is only augmented by layers of guitars. Later, the volume of the song itself gets a bit louder. This instrumental could possibly give fans hints as to where their newer material (supposedly to be released later this year) could go.
The same goes for closing song “Wonder 2.” With drums sounding like they were recorded in an active wind tunnel, Butcher’s vocals are supplemented by the instrumentation around them. Flanging, pushing and whizzing by, guitar sounds make the track. It’s almost like the sound heard when a plane takes off from the runway.
The newest (and long-awaited offering) from My Bloody Valentine is great for hearing the band back in their most natural of states. But maybe that comfort is a bit of a letdown. I’ve heard a lot of these sounds before from them, but the last few songs give me a bit of hope about where the band will move, hopefully into newer and exciting directions. If you’re just discovering the band, start out with “Loveless,” and then check out their debut album “Isn’t Anything.” Then, come back to this, and you’ll get it.
Rating: 4 stars