It is incredibly hard for me to put into words just how much the music of My Bloody Valentine means to me. I have been a fan of the band for the past eleven years of my life. The music they had released was so influential to helping further my understanding of how guitar based music can be so much more. When I first heard “Loveless” I was convinced that I had tasted rock n roll perfection and that finally I had discovered that sound I had always desired. Over the years I played “Loveless” so much that I have brought a total of five copies of the album in those eleven years. I’ve also spent a great deal of time lost inside the sounds of their debut album “Isn’t Anything” and the other assorted EP’s that they released as a band. Everything they released up until this point is music of the highest order but when it all comes down to it, the real shining light of the bands discography for my ears will always be “Loveless.”
As a fan of the band I always entertained the idea that maybe one day we’d get to hear the follow up to “Loveless” and finally taste the evolution of that wonderful sound they established. Unfortunately what we got in the years since the release of “Loveless” was a generation of bands who ripped it off and the most ridiculous and fuck awful genre title ever, Shoegaze. Whenever someone uses the word shoegaze to describe their band or music I immediately feel a need to almost push my finger into my eye until I reach the back of my brain. It is nauseatingly pretentious to label yourself Shoegaze and I hate the way it has become a genre and the way people throw that word around like it automatically gives you a degree of “elite” taste. If you want my opinion, the only two bands who did a good job of taking influence from My Bloody Valentine were Deftones and Type O Negative with these two bands being the very reason I ended up becoming a fan of My Bloody Valentine. That all being said, there has been a great many rock and electro bands that took from the My Bloody Valentine template and made it their own, these bands always fucking rock. Through all of those post-Loveless years though we never got any closer to understanding if a follow up would ever be released. When the band re-united I had my hope restored that perhaps something would come of this and I simply waited patiently. When the band released the long overdue remasters of their albums and EP’s last year it felt like perhaps this was some kind of sign that we were getting closer. I still honestly felt it would not happen and that if it did it wouldn’t be for at least another five years. That all changed on the 2nd of February 2013.
I was too scared to download the album when it came out and I waited 18 days before I eventually downloaded it on the 20th February 2013. Over that 18 day period I did nothing but think about the album and read all the reviews. I did not listen to one single sample of it until the night I downloaded it. You see this was an event like any other for me, as they are one of my favourite bands who are responsible for changing so much of my life. I have lived with the album quite closely over the past 15 days and I have listened to it in many different settings. I have set aside time to consume it over and over again via the headphones. I took long drives in my car to listen to it for hours and I did a lot of walking during the past 15 days and every time I did I had this album on my headphones. I let every inch of the album soak into my existence until it became all I could hear in my head when I wasn’t listening to it. It became an obsession and in the process I started to form quite an emotional attachment to the album. I now wait patiently for my physical copy to arrive so that I can do it all over again because even though I have done nothing but listen to this album I still feel like the journey to understanding it has only just begun.
So after all of that listening, what do I think of the new My Bloody Valentine album?
I think it is one of the most wonderful and beautiful movements of music that I have ever heard. It is the natural extension of where the band left us and through the course of nine tracks you are taken on a beautiful journey that destroys every emotion you have ever felt. When you surrender to the very first seconds of the opening track “She Found Now” you are completely immersed in the rush of pure sonic bliss with the calm hum of cool comfort heartache introducing itself to you helping you graduate from the fear into state of pure higher consciousness. It is a fucking deeply spiritual process that makes tears of joy erupt. It is like you are floating on a spacious body of water, very late at night with the dull grey of the moonlight and the stars doing their best to provide you some kind of illumination and context as to where you are. That feeling of drifting only gets more intense as the album progresses and you are thrust into so many emotional landscapes. The beautiful buried vocals act like a warm blanket to the wintery guitars providing the perfect mix of comfort and vulnerability. By the end of the album you can’t help but smile and feel psychologically changed by the experience. There is such warmth to the album and the production of it all is the perfect hug for your ears after years of digital compression have given them harsh workouts. It is indeed one of the most satisfying listening experiences of 2013 and of the past 11 years. The repeated listens have provided me with nothing but joy.
The way I look at it is that people will judge the album scientifically. I personally couldn’t care less about the science of it all; I just wanted to be swept away by the music and as a result, be changed. My Bloody Valentine have successfully done that and through doing that reinforced my love of them. They exceeded my expectations and I’m feeling blessed that I got the chance to see this album released. I’ve had quite a strong emotional reaction to this album, like an old friend or lover has returned. If I was to paint you a picture of just how this album makes me feel then the best job I could do is by comparing it to the overwhelming feeling of love and joy you feel when you see a loved one return from overseas. That uncontrollable urge that thrusts you to hug them at the airport arrival gates and to stay in that state of embrace for as long as you can because after what feels like an eternity you finally have them back in your life, in the present, in that moment. That is what it feels like to have this album playing through my headphones and I don’t think I’ve taken the time to disconnect from that initial embrace. I love this album and band too much to let go of how much joy and love it is making me feel.
My Bloody Valentine is one of the few select bands who play what I define as the perfect rock n roll sound.
10 Cassette Tapes Out of 10
By: Dan Newton