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My Bloody Valentine

m b v

My Bloody Valentine
9
It would be stupid to assume, just because it took two decades to see the light of day, that m b v will somehow shake the world of popular music in the same way Loveless did. Loveless was the outcome of the years My Bloody Valentine spent distilling a perfect sound, so besides topping it (and they couldn't), the only way the band could live up to the colossal expectations Loveless set for them would have been to move on from that sound. But did we really want that? Instead, My Bloody Valentine do only and exactly what they should have done: record an album that matches the grace, beauty, and sensual timbre of their landmark record. m b v doesn't do anything that Loveless doesn't — opener "She Found Now" retains the gauzy tumble of "Loomer," the scale-climbing melodies of "To Here Knows When," and the gentle distortion of "Sometimes" — but while it's all certainly familiar, m b v hardly feels like nostalgia. How could it, when Loveless was always so timeless? Can one fondly recall a time in music that only actually existed for one album? There were, of course, countless knockoffs in the years following, but since no other band ever truly captured My Bloody Valentine's elusive essence, there's only m b v to inhabit the void that fans have been waiting so patiently to fill. That's not to suggest m b v is just a rehash: "Is This and Yes" is the most delicate, minimal MBV song to date, "Nothing Is" hearkens back beyond Loveless to Isn't Anything's clamourous second side both with its pounding drums and titular answer to the album's posed question, and chopped-up closer "Wonder 2" provides a whirlwind album end in place of the band's typically bombastic opener. Taken as an album, m b v is a gorgeous coda to Loveless's (hallowed) refrain, and really, could anyone have asked for more? Twenty-two years later, My Bloody Valentine is still the band everyone's talking about, and although it may not necessarily build on Loveless, there's no audible reason m b v shouldn't be spoken of in the same hushed, venerating tones. (Independent)
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