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Happy Valentine’s Day
More than twenty years ago, My Bloody Valentine became the textbook definition of shoegaze rock. Their 1991 Loveless album was critically acclaimed and beloved by fans all over the world. Droning guitars rang through eleven tracks over fifty minutes of some of the finest music to come out of its time. And then there was silence. For a long time.
My Bloody Valentine surprised the world this year by finally releasing a follow-up to Loveless. After nearly twenty-two years, the band has put out mbv, a modestly titled work that has had fans of the edges of their seats. Very rarely is an album met with such equal parts hope and skepticism.
It’s not easy for a band to stay relevant and true to itself over time. Tastes change, styles evolve and audiences get bored. Many fans love to hate their favorite musicians’ later works. Money often gets in the way of expression as artists move on to greener pastures. A band can easily lose its initial passion and spirit after a successful single, so it seems almost impossible to hold on to that kind of fleeting energy for two decades without releasing a single album.
To the delight and surprise of many, mbv picks up exactly where Loveless left off. The transition between these two albums appears so seamless that it’s almost impossible to believe it took so long. Distorted harmonics and veiled androgynous vocals still dominate the soundscape with strategic support from samplers and synthesizers. The album meanders slowly through noise and melody, opening with the slow electric dirge “She Found Now,” and closing with “Wonder 2,” a chaotic whirlwind of nearly formless rock. In between, mbv delves into melodies and song structures on tracks like “In Another Way,” and “Who Sees You,” songs that are practically anthems on their own.
When the results are as good as mbv, twenty-two years doesn’t seem like such a long wait. My Bloody Valentine’s third album is everything fans could have hoped for and a welcome breath of fresh air. It’s as strange and dark as its predecessor, and hopefully hints at more great work in the future. If we have to wait another twenty years for a fourth album, we’ll wait.