Can’t say I’m surprised this would happen.
Kevin Sheilds, the leader of venerated shoegaze band My Bloody Valentine, stated just a few days ago that the new album was mastered and would drop in a few days. Now, in the old fashioned world of physical Monday/Tuesday releases (Monday in the UK, Tuesday in the US), one would expect that the first new batch of songs from MBV would be dropping on the 5th, but you’d be mistaken.
Instead, Shields went onto Facebook today and said ‘have at it.’ And promptly broke the internet with the insane number of devoted followers scrambling to mybloodyvalentine.org to purchase it. It’s simply titled mbv and has nine tracks averaging around five minutes in length. I managed to head over there three hours later and dropped my $16 for the mp3 version ($16 for the mp3 or WAV version, $22 for the physical and digital, not sure what the price was for the vinyl/digital). I have to say it’s well worth the wait and the price.
The first note you hear is the trademark MBV guitar wash, that lovely sound of a guitar fed through chorus, reverb, delay, distortion, and god knows what else. It says “Hi there. Remember us?” Most of the tracks are relatively downbeat in tempo. My first thought was that it sounds like the album the band would have recorded between Isn’t Anything and Loveless. It’s got the laid back mellowness of the former, but the loudness of the latter. There’s even a few rather melodic tracks (I’m listening to a lovely “new you” [caveat: all the track titles, per Shields, should not be capitalized] with Belinda Butcher’s silky multitracked singing) that I think work really well in contrast to their older droning tracks.
I’m still giving it a listen now, and I have to admit I’m loving it. It definitely feels like they picked up where they left off, returning to their trademark sound that gets straight into your brain. Obsessive music collectors like myself will be happy with the result, as it’ll fit right in with the rest of their later catalog. Those of us who remember the original Loveless coming out in 1991 will think this was a reissue of the next album rather than something completely new. And the young’uns will most likely see where all these newer noise and post-rock bands got their inspiration.