My Bloody Valentine - M B V (2013) Review


Shoegaze

2013

An enormous portion of my life seemed to have passed in between my first listen to Loveless and when this finally, finally dropped for real. Back in 2002, I was a high schooler getting frustrated that my 56kbps modem connection kept failing to complete a 128kbps download of "Honey Power". By 2013, I had moved countries twice, been kicked in the beanbag by the 2008 financial crisis, completed grad school and (at the time) deep into a futile search for finding a job in my field before inevitably pivoting to technology like everyone else in this city.

If my life had seen this much upheaval, what must it have been like for the band? Surely they wouldn't sound the same anymore. Overcome with worst-case thinking, my mind immediately pulled up all the worst examples of long-awaited followup releases that flopped. The Stone Roses, Gang of Four and that god-awful 4th Stooges album in ‘07 that everyone has agreed to forget ever existed.

Fortunately though, I was worried for nought, as the record largely sounds like it’s trapped in amber, cocooned from everything that's changed in popular music since 1991. On M B V, it doesn't matter that alternative guitar rock has largely disappeared from radio stations, with its most celebrated purveyors fleeing to the greener pastures of avant-garde electronic beep-boopery and ill-fated solo careers.

“She Found Now” and “Only Tomorrow”s dense brew of fuzz and vintage Bilinda airiness dials back the years wonderfully. But after that it does run a bit long and the samey-ness can begin to grind on your nerves. “In Another Way” is a 5:31 jam session that quickly turns monotonous. In fact, 4 of the 9 songs hover around the 6-minute mark, and largely don’t have the hooks to support them. “Wonder 2” is a throwaway, let’s face it. At least “Touched” was just 1 minute long! Fortunately, the blessedly brief “If I Am” breaks up the monotony with a breathy Bilinda-focused pop song that feels like Mazzy Star with slightly surf-y guitars.

Overall, it’s a halfway decent comeback record. I wasn’t too miffed by the blatant filler, as the record is a means to a more important end; having the band go on tour, and come to my town. Finally.


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Slowdive - Slowdive (2017) Review

Slowdive
2017