So by now you may have heard of the new My Bloody Valentine album m b v – their first in 22 years since the epic Loveless. Needless to say shoegazers are quite excited and suitably relieved by Kevin Shields and Co’s latest montage of distortion and fuzzy vocals. I am on my second listen and I’m kind of in a state of disbelief.
Many forums are pontificating what effect m b v might have on the future of shoegaze. I don’t know. However, as an expert on most things, I’m willing to volunteer from my armchair that it has reinforced the prestige of shoegaze as a genre capable of producing unique sounds and a highly concentrated form of guitars/effects/distortion/layers, which in its simplest form is what you might hear on indie/alt rock radio stations.
The Horrors have been linking to the new MBV material from their Facebook page. Music newsletters that generally lend themselves to waxing lyrical about about festival lineups or their subsequent demise* are now at least including a footnote or some sort of tip o’ the hat to shoegaze. The Guardian recently curated a playlist of top 20 shoegaze tracks of all time. They did a pretty good job – all the usual suspects such as Swervedriver, Ride, Jesus and Mary Chain made an appearance.
So without further ado, here are my favourite picks from m b v.
Nothing is – the second last track on the album – without any preamble or provocation, starts off with a hissy fit of guitars and doesn’t run out of fuel until the very end. The immense wall of sound is stubborn and unwavering with its sped-up drums and no obvious or over the top theatrics. This is quite interesting because it allows for a lot of room to think and space-cadet off into a distance whilst still gushing out some seriously dense sound.
Only Tomorrow offers a unique interplay between Bilinda Butcher’s vocals and clangy, swirling guitar work. The song retains the signature My Bloody Valentine warmth as the guitars continue lumbering uphill whilst battling an onslaught of distortion only to return the listener safely back to Butcher’s voice. This song is unbelievable.
*Well that’s to be expected when you have sub optimal bands like Two Door Cinema Club and Mumford Sons headlining your festival.