TONIGHT: The Second Coming Of MBV


Twenty-two years after the release of Loveless, we’d come to believe Jesus would come back before My Bloody Valentine. Never thought we would occasion to type these words: HERE is the new My Bloody Valentine album. INSTA-REVIEW: Opening trio of wall-of-noise tracks are stunning and deathless (and progress-less, too) but the bottom kinda falls out midway (tracks 4-6) when they peel back the wall of noise to reveal that there ain’t that much there there. But it picks up again with a pretty fucking ass-kicking three-song homestretch. “In Another Way” and especially “Nothing Is” rock harder than should be conceivable for people of their advanced age. They go supernova on the last song. It will melt your face. That’s after one listen. Repeated listens could change any or all of these opinions but I doubt it. Ignorance is bliss and triggering bliss is what MBV does best. All told, pretty sure this could tide me over for another 22 years. UPDATE: Upon second listen “If I Am” is a keeper, but I still think “Is This And Yes” way overstays its welcome and the album would flow better if those two switched places. And “New You” is just a b-side. Still, this unfortunate business aside, let us rejoice. — JONATHAN VALANIA

PREVIOUSLY: My Bloody Valentine makes drug music for straight people. Wednesday night at Theater of Living Arts in Philadelphia, these art-rock cupids at times lulled the sold-out crowd with their dreamlike droning. Other times the oh-so-hip British foursome fell into the role of deviant noise engineers, using their collective squall to set up a ripping force field of white noise.

The hushed soprano of rhythm guitarist Bilinda Butcher and the disaffected croon of lead guitarist Kevin Shields acted like much-needed sedatives, calming the crowd during the buzzing storm of guitars. Spiraling patterns of color and blurry photographs were projected onto a screen behind the band, while seizure-inducing strobe lights fired directly at the audience. The crowd of 500 cheered loudly in between songs, which was surprising considering the band was doing its level best to work the crowd into a speechless trance.

While occasional soundman errors and equipment failures ensured that MBV’s set was less than seamless, the band managed to recreate the layered, spellbinding grooves of “Only Shallow,” “Soon,” and “Blow A Wish” from MBV’s new disc, “Loveless.” During the last song, “You Made Me Realize,” from a 1988 12-inch EP, Shields and Butcher rode a single chord for what seemed like 20 minutes, at a sadistic, eardrum-puncturing volume. It was like a velvet-gloved hand rubbing your cerebral cortex raw. Two hours later, when my ears stopped ringing, I realized that this was a very cool thing. — JONATHAN VALANIA, Allentown Morning Call, March 7th, 1992

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