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It was the “where were you moment” for the ‘Loveless’ generation when My Bloody Valentine finally, halfway through Match Of The Day, decided enough is enough, it’s coming out. At no point in the last 20 years did such a thing seem remotely possible. A quote from a friend about Kevin Shields' state of mind circa early-2000s, “That man will not make a record for a very long time”, seemed to confirm that the band were a thing of the past.
Whether it be the recent years of touring, the emergence of a plethora of bright young things in awe to the wooze ‘n’ strum sound or just a post-40 thing of not giving quite as much of a shit as before, that has brought it back to life and whether it be a ‘new’ album, an ‘old’ album or a bit of both well who knows. I would suspect that the shelf life of the various tunes collected here varies greatly but does it matter? Not a jot. In all the hyperbole about the online release it’s just nice to hear them again.
The impressive thing about this album is that so many people over the years have tried to create music in this vein but hearing new music by the originators reaffirms that no-one actually gets close. Aside from the fact that it contains my most favourite musical thing in, oh, the last 20 years (more on that later), there are plenty of moments to treasure here.
The first half of the album is woozy and laid back and sometimes (yes) limp. ‘She Found Now’ is a brilliantly subtle opener, just gorgeous washes of *that* guitar and Shields’ dreamy croon. ‘Only Tomorrow’ is odd, shuffling along haphazardly and ending up with a guitar solo mimicking the tune from ‘Camberwick Green’. The first sonically vital moment comes in ‘Who Sees You’, the most dramatic waterfall of cascading drums and guitars, the oddest, most unexpected chord changes. This is one of the vital things about the band that sets them apart, you never quite know where the chords are about to go.
‘Is This and Yes’ is a pleasant ambient piece that recalls Stereolab or High Llamas at their most washed out. ‘If I Am’ and ‘New You’ both do the job, both are led by Bilinda Butcher’s whispery dream of a voice and have the odd moment of transcendence but something happens before ‘In Another Way’ which allows the album to step up to a whole new level for the remaining three songs.
‘In Another Way’ is mind numbingly incredible. Skittering drums are swept aside by shards of guitar and vocals and a guitar solo that bizarrely twists and turns the Big Country bagpipe blueprint into submission. ‘Nothing is’ is a furious kraut jam, a microsecond loop of drums and guitars that whilst appearing to do very little is absorbing and engaging. But ‘Wonder 2’ is the cream on top of the pudding. The most incredible vortex of flanged (?) drums and guitars and almost Beach Boys like organ combine to create a piece of music that sounds like that rarest thing - something no-one’s ever done before. It’s an incendiary, non-stop blast that I heard described as “like being strapped to the bottom of a Boeing 757 whilst the history of music plays backwards”.
Afterwards you feel exhausted, worn, it reminds me of how I heard new music as a teenager, open eared and gawping. And thats what this band make me feel. There’s tracks you’ll skip for sure, and it does have the feel of a compilation but for those glory moments the 20 years’ wait is nothing.
10/10 Brian D Customer review, 1st March 2013
Clinton's review is the most honest and refreshing write up of this strange record I've had the pleasure to read and he is so spot-on about the sequencing and how it ebbs, flows and builds towards one of the most spellbinding and powerful pieces of future rock you'll EVER hear. It beats Loveless into a pulp, just that one song and solidly affirms their place at the head of the table. When David Bowie "went drum 'n' bass" everybody laughed. This is no laughing matter.
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