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m b v

by My Bloody Valentine

Released February 2, 2013 via Domino Recording Co.

Reviewed February 16, 2023

Top tracks (based on community voting)
only tomorrow (67%), she found now (39%), in another way / wonder 2 (33%)

After a lengthy hiatus, My Bloody Valentine returned to the scene that they unquestionably and single-handedly took to the next level. The hazy and ferocious sphere of shoegaze dreams and wavers in different ways without their presence. Daydreams, but they're nightmares. Bright colours augment the perception of reality. Spinning, spinning, spinning. Drowning in waves of textured ecstasy. Hugs from some higher spirits. In a field in a distant land. Lullabies of sweet asunder. Hearts beat in and out of time. Convulsing on a center point. Spinning slowly off an axis. The beginning is the end is the beginning. Buff cotton swabs dancing in your ears. Candy floss on a bad trip. Cotton wool wrapped around your throat. Sweet scenes of swirling shapes behind your eyelids. Losing balance but never hitting the ground. The soft touch of a full-on assault. Swept up by warm winds. Cradled by syrup-y, insidious sounds. Glitching. Falling into obscurity, eternal decay. – Peter (8/10)

More than 20 years after releasing what many considering to be the definitive shoegaze album—1991’s Loveless—My Bloody Valentine came back with another fuzzy, reverb-heavy outing in the form of m b v. And while still a welcomed effort, the Irish-English band’s third album doesn’t signify the triumphant return it could have.

A record with the lasting impact of an album like Loveless comes with its downsides. Nothing can take away the band’s influence or diminish the importance of that album. But what inevitably happens is that subsequent releases will be measured up against it and any hype surrounding the follow-up is likely to impact its reception. m b v, even with all it has to offer, falls victim to this.

Is it a bad album? No, but the unfortunate reality is that m b v never truly feels like an evolution beyond what Loveless set forth. Nearly any descriptors you could use toward the 1991 release can be applied to the one we got in 2013. It is dense and atmospheric, it has touches of dissonance, and it’s bolstered by swirling guitars that form an overall warm and melancholic feel. m b v does all this with a bit of lighter sound, but other than it being slightly less noisy and punchy, it really suffers in the shadow of Loveless. It’s a solid album, but it ultimately fails to propel their sound forward in any significant fashion, especially given the 22-year gap between when we had last heard them. – Dominick (7.5/10)

Pax: 9.1/10 | Jared: 8.5/10 | Peter: 8/10 | DeVán: 8/10 | Dominick: 7.5/10


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