In 1992, My Bloody Valentine left Creation records — whom they were rumoured to have bankrupted — signed with Island, built a home studio and went to work on the follow-up to Loveless.
Then some time passed. We all got older, though some of us got younger than that now.
In 2003, over a decade after Loveless — whose already stellar reputation had ossified into “all time great” at least partially because there hadn’t been a follow-up — Kevin Shields put out some new music as part of the soundtrack to Lost in Translation. But it wasn’t My Bloody Valentine, so it only counted to a certain extent.
Then some more time passed: Axl Rose finally released Chinese Democracy in 2008, thereby winning (or losing) the “long-long-long awaited followup” race, but while there were always stirrings and rumours of recordings, there was nothing new from My Bloody Valentine, and there never would be. Until suddenly, there was.
Then we all got a lot older, though Chinese Democracy might have helped, when suddenly m b v was dropped on an unsuspecting world via Facebook post in February of 2013, breaking the band’s website in the process. By that time, of course, it was impossible to evaluate it properly. A lot of bands took time between records: groups like Dinosaur Jr. and Superchunk took long hiatuses with successful comebacks, but those bands already had extensive catalogs. My Bloody Valentine only had two full-lengths and a handful of EPs. The closest analogy would be The Wrens, 15 years and counting for the follow-up to The Meadowlands.
And while I liked m b v, and was glad that it existed, it does seem like it could have also existed in, say, 1996 without any issues, as well. Which also made it almost impossible to review properly: do you dock them points for not having released it in 1996 in the first place, or do you overrate it for existing at all?
Five years down the line, with follow-up music announced for this summer — either an album or a pair of EPs, depending on your sources — as well as a tour, m b v fits in neatly with what has come before: washes and swirls of guitar sounds, breathless vocals mixed low, all over interesting and weird beats.
My favorite song on the record is “In Another Way,” which starts of with a galloping, stuttering drum loop that never varies for even a second, but also adds another variant over the long outro: a synth line straight from the early 80s’ New Order playbook, which wanders in and around the echoing, buzzing firestorm of guitars.
Like most of the other My Bloody Valentine songs I’ve written about, “In Another Way” is somewhat impenetrable, but especially during the long outro, utterly mesmerizing.
“In Another Way”
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