By Zack Smith, Feb. 5, 2013
Obsessive genius nearly bankrupts record label while crafting game-changing album and then goes AWOL for twenty years. This was the My Bloody Valentine story and if you are a fan you are pretty familiar with it. Frustratingly familiar with it. It would be one thing if they had simply called it quits, but there were always horrible, cock-teasing rumors of scrapped albums and new works in progress. In 2008, prime valentine Kevin Shields announced that he was working on a new record. Nobody believed him. Sometime last year,though, it be came clear that this shit is happening. And so it was, on Groundhog Day 2013, MBV was released to the world.
“I’m just finishing a record that I had started in the 90s. It was going to be, like, the next record.” Shileds told Pitchfork. With this in mind, MBV sounds exactly as you’d imagine it; it takes the formula they perfected on 1991′s Loveless and expands on it, adding new moods and textures to their sonic pallet. It begins right where they left off. Any of the first three tracks would have felt right at home on the last album, and the second of which, “Only Tomorrow” would be among it’s strongest tracks. After that, we get our first relative curve-ball with “Is This and Yes,” which replaces the walls of distorted guitars with glacial organs. The rest of the album proceeds in this fashion, finding new ways to tweak the old style. This includes getting a little sexy on “If I Am,” a little Flaming-Lipsy on “New You,” and a little jungle-on-a-busy-runway-y on closer “Wonder 2.” It should go without saying, but this is an album best experienced with headphones and the lights down low.
So was the twenty-two year wait worth it? That depends on how you look at it. A strong follow-up to a legendary record is probably worth about five years. Six, max. But to have a band that was presumed forever lost return in such fine form is a goddamn miracle. To that end, I’m glad we got MBV and pray that we don’t have to wait another twenty years for another.
MBV gets 83 arbitrary music points out of 100.