It’s here! The Chinese Democracy of shoegaze! My Bloody Valentine’s first album in 22 years has been so eagerly anticipated that when the album was released for download on the band’s website, their servers crashed due to excessive traffic. Their last release, Loveless, is regarded as a classic and has maintained a strong following of fans who will not be disappointed by MBV.
Shoegaze is a terrible name for a genre however. It’s too narrow-minded, it doesn’t convey the depth of the music that My Bloody Valentine make; MBV is a symphony of distortion. When ‘She Found Now’ begins the album, it’s as if the last two decades have not passed, and we are instantly surrounded by layer upon layer of Kevin Shields’s fuzzed-up guitars. They’re loud, and they should sound harsh, but instead they’re warm and enveloping. There are beautiful melodies at the bottom of this ocean of noise, if you can find them; Shields’ and Bilinda Butcher’s high, breathy vocals whisper in your ear like an old friend.
They get a bit more raucous and dissonant on ‘Who Sees You’, before taking things down a bit for the organ-led ‘Is This and Yes’. Then we get back to the ray-gun wah-wah and spaced-out phasers on the more abstract second half of the album, which may not appeal to everyone. Deep down though, there’s always a dream-pop song hiding beneath the squalls of overdrive, showing Beach House how it’s really done. The rulers are back. And they’re just as good as ever.
In a Nutshell: A beautiful, noisy, fantastic album worth the two decade wait.