Oscillating, tremolo-grinding guitars wail in a style as unmistakably unique as that of Hendrix or Frampton; carefully dotted with idiosyncratic reverb soaked whisperings and within seconds of hearing My Bloody Valentine’s m b v, one thing becomes very clear. The more than 20-year wait meant nothing.
Anything and everything has already been said and written down about the polarising group’s 1988 debut Isn’t Anything and the phenomenal, critically heralded 1991 sophomore offering Loveless.
Thus it was time that would tell whether the shoegaze pioneers could re-capture the individuality and essence that crafted them into a band that doesn’t top charts, or pack out dance floors, but a band that changes lives.
In what could be considered a characteristic My Bloody Valentine opening, ‘She Found Now’ growls along on fuzzed out rhythmic chord progressions and subtly injected lead guitar motifs.
A comfortable introduction demonstrating those 22 years haven’t effaced the My Bloody Valentine that fans know and love.
Following on, ‘Only Tomorrow’ leans closer towards Kevin Shields’ solo work, resting heavily on the shoulders of the frontman’s crunching guitar progressions, underpinned by languorous and routinely simplistic drum patterns.
‘Who Sees You’ almost feels like ‘Only Shallow’ from the top, before transitioning into a far more rhythmically driven and sensitive offering. Defined by a screaming interjection of lead guitar that renders it as a distinct standout.
Belinda Butcher’s vocal musings on ‘If I Am’ pertain an ambiguity reminiscent of the Cocteau Twins, undulated with almost-looping wah pedals and trudging drums.
Meanwhile ‘Is This and Yes’ is almost painfully reminiscent of Loveless’ ‘Loomer’, as Butcher coos and murmurs over deep, reverberant drum hits and harmonic organ drones.
It’s not all nostalgic however. With a somewhat dramatic shift, ‘New You’ rides on Debbie Googe’s almost funk inspired bass line into the record’s final half.
Juxtaposed against gated, tremolo guitar shapes it culminate in a charmingly unique and refreshingly different angle for the record.
Rollicking and thunderous drums on ‘In Another Way’ and ‘Nothing Is’ add another degree of texture, complimented perfectly by the abrasive, howling guitar stabs.
The 90s styled break-beat rhythms delve into skittering, phased decorations of album closer ‘Wonder 2’, becoming intentionally confusing as reverse reverb guitar groans (sounding like an overflying jet) are intermittently contrasted by soaring vocal vignettes.
It’s these more eclectic moments on the record that most appropriately justify the creative strength of this outfit, combined with touches of their seminal sound that spawned a 1000 lesser copycats.
What remains is nothing short of a masterpiece.