c

i

r

c

u

l

a

t

i

o

n

Circulation Symbol

I first discovered My Bloody Valentine in a conversation about a mostly unrelated band, The Twilight Sad. I described their dreary, noisy, achingly abrasive guitars like ‘police sirens’. Never mind that I had ripped this description straight off an indie blogger lost at the back-of-beyond of the internet, the first response I got was: “Oh, have you tried My Bloody Valentine?” Typical.  I hated their Loveless album of years ago and didn’t play My Bloody Valentine again for another six months.

 
But here is m b v.  I’ll make one – only one – tentative link between this and Loveless: where Loveless begins with alarms, sirens, a sudden entry, m b v doesn’t. Content with itself, without having to say anything more than being My Bloody Valentine, it’s softer, warmer, and nostalgic. More inviting. Dreamy, static-like basslines fuzz at the bottom of the tape, with a warm guitar chord dripping, now and again, infrequent, on top. The introduction recollects memories I’ll probably never have: all I can think of are sun-splashed coastal roads, fading sunsets, and the sudden light – a twang of a guitar – of a passing car – that seems to build in pitter-patters, before suddenly you’re standing on the edge of California’s Route 1 on the edge of rainfall.

 
The entire album is one long, watery escape, from drips to torrents of rain and backwards hurricanes and lost seas, drenched in a dreamy sun that doesn’t forget to shine, eased by those oh-so-familiar drifting, whispered vocals. Somehow these lo-fi, low-tech, nasally guitar passages in repetition become beautiful. When the music becomes sinister, the sudden movement in harmony is precarious; it’s always backed by warmth somewhere in the music, it’s always dancing between light and dark. It’s how you might imagine drowning: a peaceful reverie with the glimpse of sunlight above, instead of literally suffocating.

 
m b v, then, is like drowning in a dream in a thousand ways. From thick, noise-heavy layers of shoegaze, My Bloody Valentine constantly diverge: electronic drum loops; jerky, uncertain guitar solos; squelchy, psychedelic basslines – complete with ‘doo doo doo’s in the vocals; faux-organ synths. Watery textures thicken and thin, move from forefront to background, from melody-driven to drone-like and hypnotic, it’s all fluid: transition is almost seamless. This culminates in the typhoon that is ‘Wonder 2’, which captures the intensity and conflict of m b v’s lucid dreams in one final scene. On one side, swelling and rising ‘eastern’ harmonies, backwards-recorded guitars, pitted against frantic, rhythmical drumming most likely recorded inside of an aeroplane fan. Two worlds clash: a sweet 60s fantasy that probably never happened, and a modern, mechanic reality that you’ll have to wake up when m b v casts you back onto shore.

 
What is clear, despite this fuzzy, guitar-drenched escape, is that m b v is not a typical tack at nineties revivalism, which 2012 was full of. m b v wants to explore more, and it is more: it blends influences backwards and forwards into its own blurry guitar lines, from fifty years ago to today. m b v, as its name suggests, is completely My Bloody Valentine, but it’s more expansive, and whilst it’s sure of itself, it might lose you in its dreams, escapes, and reveries.

By

Read More..

%d bloggers like this: