We all know the story, but here it is, briefly: Loveless was released in September of ’91, to a wall of beautiful confusion and immense adoration. My Bloody Valentine lived in their own world; to this day, I can’t think of another band that ever sounded quite like they did. That record exists in a vacuum, where there are no similar records, and you can’t think of any influences. They were always a band that made music unaware of how other people made music, if indeed they even knew that music existed beyond them. And then… nothing happened. Loveless very nearly bankrupted Creation Records, and the following 6 years would be a mess of false starts and broken promises. Advances were blown, and more money was given. They eventually broke up, only to return a decade later. And then… even more nothing happened. The last 6 years have been a small flurry of rumors and whispers. Frontman/maestro Kevin Shields made comments about how he had records worth of material ready to go. Nothing ever came. Then, late December ’12, Shields announced that a new album had been mastered. Near the end of January ’13, at a show in the UK, My Bloody Valentine played a warm-up show, where three new songs were played (the first since Loveless, mind you), from the new album which would be out in “about two or three days.” The amazing thing was, he was only off by a three or four days. The Chinese Democracy of shoegaze finally saw the light of day. And it only took 21 years to happen.
The first thing you notice about m b v is that it sounds like nothing has changed, but in the best possible way. When I hit Play, I was expecting to be hit in the face with the same sonic boom that I encountered when I first listened to “Only Shallow”; In 30 seconds flat, that song redefines “loud”. But here, “She Found Now” arrives with a narcotic smoothness, reminiscent of the first time you hear “To Here Knows When”, with its radio static sheen on full blast. It’s a sleepy track, that perfectly sets you up for the ride ahead of you. It also sets you up for the slow-burning “Only Tomorrow”, which plays almost like Dinosaur Jr. on morphine, also in the best