No Ripcord Classic Album Review - My Bloody Valentine - "Loveless" (Creation, 1991)
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My Bloody Valentine - Loveless (Creation, 1991)
By Peter Mattinson

People think the five years it took the Stone Roses to make a second album was a long time. Consider My Bloody Valentine. Itís 11 years since they nearly sunk Creation records putting together the collection of dreamy/noise-pop/melodic opus that is Loveless.

You could also feel sorry for the record label that stumped up a major advance to sign them following itís release, and have so far received exactly *nil* in return. But who feels sorry for major labels?

It would be hard not to feel a bit sorry for Creation back in 1991. Recording their third album had cost MBV a cool half million. Creation footed the bill. The resident genius of the Valentine's Kevin Shields spending forever in studios trying to create something nearing perfection. Heíd just about done it with the EP You Made Me Realise. But some people just need to take it to that next level.

From the cover art, itís clear that the music inside is something different: a picture of a guitar drowning in pink, purple and red, almost distorted beyond recognition. Then thereís the songs, to use a loose term. Listening to Touched or To Here Knows When isnít really listening to music, itís more a soundtrack to some existentialist nightmare written by Dante. In a good way.

With their previous album Isnít Anything, MBV had raised the bar for guitar music and set the tone for the likes of Ride. On Loveless they did it again. The brilliance lies in the ambiguity of it all. To the listener who makes it through minutes of backward guitar feedback and breathy vocals with seemingly no words, theyíre rewarded with the sublime When You Sleep. Though vocalists Billinda Butcher and Kevin Shields may still by softly mumbling their words, one of the most gorgeously simple melodies this side of the Velvet Underground lies beneath.

Of course, anyone can strap on a guitar and make noise for three minutes (as seen by many of those quick to jump on the Shoegazing scene of the early 90ís). The key is about creating atmosphere, something Shields understood. Itís said to create the dream-like vocals desired, he would wait till Butcher was fast asleep, wake her up and push her in front of the microphone.

In terms of pushing forward the boundaries of musical experimentalism and the potential of what the traditional two guitar/bass/drums line-up could create, My Bloody Valentine did just that. Be warned though, itís not an easy trip. Your ears may well hurt and your head ring with feedback for days. Those inclined to the meandering of the likes of the Electric Soft Parade and their ilk, may want to stay away. Anyone else with any interest in the point where art and music connect: hereís your point of reference.


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