My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
Albums have rarely come with as much history as My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. In fact the only album that could generate as much adoring coverage in the British music press would be a new album from the rock pioneers.
With front man and lead guitarist Kevin Shields on a permanent tour of duty with Primal Scream that looks doubtful. The ‘Scream, however, were a fitting new home for the guitarist considering both bands found fame under the watchful eye of Alan McGee’s Creation label. Loveless was seen as the album that would take Creation to the big league; Primal Scream and Teenage Fanclub had never quite delivered sales that matched their critical kudos and Oasis were still a glint in the Gallagher’s eyes. The studio gave Shields and company over a million pounds to complete the album that they took years to record. It pushed McGee to breaking point but the resulting album in released 1991 is a work of genius.
From their 1984 debut E.P. This is Your Bloody Valentine through their classic You Made Me Realise the band have always been uncompromising in their sonic attack. Seeing them play London’s Brixton Academy along with Blur, Dinosaur Junior and The Jesus and Mary Chain, they almost cleared half the audience with a deafening feedback assault that had initiated the running for the exits clutching their ears. Loveless carries on this tradition from start.
Belinda Butcher’s alluring vocals cascade over the barrage of distorted guitars and strangled feedback. Its almost otherworldly as Only Shadow fuses the worlds of The Cocteau Twins, Hendrix and The Pixies into a wondrous noise.
Loomer ups the tempo further as the bands rhythm section, bassists Debbie Cooge and drummer Coln O’Ciosoig, kick into life, the rumbling bass driving the song to fine effect.
When You Sleep is pop rock in excelsius, I defy anyone listener not to be awestruck. The moment the guitar kicks in after Shields and Butcher sing the refrain “when you walk away” is a hairs on the back of your neck moment, all to rare in these days of bland pub rock.
On Only Said the guitars don’t even sound like guitars any more, Shields’ bank of effects pedal must look like the console of a Boeing 747. Neil Young’s experiment in feedback Arc Weld doesn’t even come close to matching this bands willingness to abuse and alter what we think can be done with the humble guitar.
There isn’t a bad track to be heard, Shields taking lead vocals on the sweet Sometimes. The spirit of Liz Fraser riding higher than ever on Blown A Wish, the variety and ingenuity on display is amazing.
All good things must come to an end, however, and Loveless ends in fine fashion with one of the albums best tracks. The horror fans amongst the listeners will recognise the Soon from the black and white vampire film noir Nadja. The funky drumming and repetitive guitar riff opening is the closest they’ve ever come to a dance track, its no wonder it was a regular favourite of the Chemical Brothers early days on the decks. The track builds to a huge cacophony of noise, the perfect end to a perfect album that deserves to be called a classic.