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My Bloody Valentine triumphs in year of reunions, comebacks

decicco column sig

By
From page B1 | December 27, 2013 |

All the cool kids in music were doing reunions and comebacks in 2013.

It was the Lazarus moment for a cast as diverse as metal legends Black Sabbath to the Bay Area hip-hop hijinks of Deltron 3030.

Others joining the crowd either on the road or in the studio: The Replacements, Neutral Milk Hotel, Black Flag, Fall Out Boy, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Mazzy Star, Satan, Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie.

Even Andy Kaufman, who has been dead for nearly 20 years, put out a new record.

No revival was more vital than My Bloody Valentine, which delivered “MBV,” my favorite album of 2013.

In a year filled with returns from the dead, My Bloody Valentine reigned supreme, turning in a record that made it easy to forget someone born on the day their last LP was released is now old enough to buy alcohol. The overlong-awaited LP existed in the ether of music for more than two decades, a record that was as much a myth as the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot or $2-a-gallon gas.

It arrived in the afternoon of Feb. 2 via the band’s website, which crashed almost as soon as it was made available.

Also worth noting: The last time the Irish quartet released a new album, the Internet as we know it didn’t exist.

“MBV,” however, somehow managed to meet 22 years worth of expectations. Despite its leisurely delivery, singer, guitarist and songwriter Kevin Shields and company picked up right where 1991’s “Loveless” leaves off.

The record is best seen as a trio of three-track sets. The opening salvo showcases their signature airplane-engine drone, with highlight “Only Tomorrow” ascending into a murky finale.

The middle section opens the sound, with “New You” showing a boogie much of Loveless denied.

The last section is Shields’ songwriting at its edgiest, with sheets of sound wafting over the listener during the acid trip of “In Another Way” and the devastating, buzzy closer, “Wonder 2.”

“MBV” achieved the remarkable feat that few comeback records ever do – it sounded timeless, ascending its nostalgia trip to be as vital and significant in 2013 as it could’ve been in 1993.

To prove it, in August, the band made its first Bay Area appearance since 2008. The new “MBV” cuts comfortably joined a set list of classic material, delivering a sublime show. The Irish shoegazers bathed the crowd in their cacophonic sound, then turned up to deafening decibels with their jet-engine-powered vacuum cleaner sound for the closer, “You Made Me Realise.”

It was a show in support of a record that I thought would never arrive. For a group that made a shoegaze touchtone with “Loveless,” it’s a surprise its successor is as good as it is.

No album is worth waiting 22 years, but it’s astonishing how “MBV” melts away the intervening years of false starts, dead ends, animosity and lost hope. It pushed them to the top of the pile in a year with stiff competition for artists dusting themselves off.

But, moreover, the fact that “MBV” stands as “Loveless’ ” equal is no parlor trick, but also its highest compliment.

To read more of Nick DeCicco’s blogs, visit http://dailyrepublic.typepad.com/forthoseabouttorock. Follow him on Twitter @ndeciccodr.

 

Nick’s top 10 favorite albums of 2013
10. Thee Oh Sees, “Floating Coffin”
09. Tim Hecker, “Virgins”
08. Kurt Vile, “Wakin on a Pretty Daze”
07. Queens of the Stone Age, “ … Like Clockwork”
06. Savages, “Silence Yourself”
05. Kanye West, “Yeezus”
04. Run the Jewels, “Run the Jewels”
03. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, “Push the Sky Away”
02. Deafheaven, “Sunbather”
01. My Bloody Valentine, “MBV”

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco is the editor of the Tailwind and writes the pop culture blog/column For Those About to Rock. Before joining the DR staff in July 2007, DeCicco (pronounced Deh-CEE-Coh) worked at The Union in Grass Valley, Calif., and the Greeley Tribune in Greeley, Colo. A 2004 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, DeCicco spends his free time attending concerts, listening to music, going to movies, traveling and hiking.
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