My Bloody Valentine’s new release m b v ended up being more hype than any leap forward from the album that made them underground and sheltered psychedelic heroes. Their electronic counterparts updated disco and funk.
My Bloody Valentine updated Jimi Hendrix, a bit of The Velvet Underground, and the studio indulgence of British progressive rock: heavy guitars, white noise muffled to a dim roar escaping through the whispers of someone dreaming, and the excessive layering of instruments in the studio to achieve some perfection, even if My Bloody Valentine’s was purposefully offset.
Their best work was like a drawing of an imperfect and sometimes boring shape traced over and over till the thin idea became a dream that seemed as real as anything that could sustain or kill you. Isn’t Anything was a little after the idea had any strength. Loveless was when the idea was lost within itself, like the pen stroke falling into its own groove on the page and the passivity of the drawer keeps it there as the image grows darker, heavier, and more useful, even if only to glance at.
For whatever reason My Bloody Valentine left on the highest note possible as Loveless became one of the most cherished and highly rated albums of the 1990s, but they had a known and talked about abandoned project that became the 90s version of The Beach Boys Smile. Like Smile, the story is better than the final product, though neither of which are horrible, just highly overhyped. Likewise, most of the hype came from fans and the media dreaming of My Bloody Valentine making yet another giant leap from Loveless, or at the very least a proportional progression that most saw between Isn’t Anything and Loveless.
After almost two decades, seemingly endless speculation, a few more intense years in the 2000s after the band reunited with a promise to release an album that was about 75% done released an album that is about 75% of Loveless, or less.
“She Found Now”, “Only Tomorrow”, and “Who Sees You” could have fit seamlessly onto Loveless. “Is This and Yes” and “Nothing Is” could work nice as interludes if they were the length of “Touched” on Loveless; they also lack the beastly cries of “Touched”. “If I Am” is too lackadaisical to even compete with the first three tracks on m b v. “New You” has a similar problem with the addition of a hollowing-out when their whispered lyrics begin to be understood. “In Another Way” starts out very strong with the guitars simulating bag pipes and unleash a bit, but fall apart as the delay destroys the momentum. “Wonder 2” is a slight departure, this time indulging a lot more in percussion but still only floating around rather than nailing you to the floor, forcing you to listen with all your might at least once. And it is far too long, each track dragging on about a minute after it served its purpose.