And it’s only been 20 years!
In case you don’t know, My Bloody Valentine (or MBV as they’re known to their fans) are an Irish alternative rock band formed in the early 80s. I wasn’t an early recruit to the band. I missed their first album completely and by the time it came to their “Magnum Opus”, Loveless (released in November 1991), I think I may have been caught up in the whole Nirvana Nevermind excitement.
But a friend of mine put together a mix tape for me of their early EPs (now remastered and available on Amazon. And, no, I’m not receiving a percentage of the royalties). I loved it. But that was only a taste of what was to come.
And what was to come was Loveless.
The epic story of the recording of Loveless is laid out in this blog post from “Sabotage Times” but to give you a taster:
“It’s said to have nearly bankrupted Creation Records, eventually costing the label a quarter of a million pounds. Drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig was homeless during recording, so the album’s drum tracks had to be pieced together from samples of patterns he was fit to play. Production was shut down for several weeks while Shields and vocalist Bilinda Butcher recovered from tinnitus as a result of their deafeningly loud live shows. Numerous engineers were hired and fired because they couldn’t keep up with Shields’ perfectionism. In fact, his single-minded vision for the album’s sound led to him playing every guitar and bass part himself, believing it was impossible to explain to the other musicians what he wanted. But despite the months of insanity that might have made a lesser band collapse, the Valentines came out on top and released one of the greatest alternative albums of all time.”
MBV were never as easily accessible as the likes of Nirvana, however, and this might explain why I didn’t get into them initially. Their songs (certainly their later songs) tend to eschew the traditional Verse/Chorus/Verse, instead comprising an endless loop of swirling – often extremely loud – guitars, drum loops and ethereal vocals. Indeed, they are not songs, as such – you certainly won’t be singing along to many of them. They are more – without sounding too pretentious – “sonic soundscapes” that wash over you.
And now they’re back. Shields has told NME that they will release a new album by the end of the year.
To understand why I’m excited about this, check out all seven minutes of one of their signature songs – the glorious “Soon”:
(Image: Click on pic for credits)
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