1 MY BLOODY VALENTINE: LOVELESS( 1991)
THE yarns which surround Loveless are many. Label boss Alan McGee has claimed that the recording budget bankrupted Creation, and there have been increasingly hazy recollections by the dozens of engineers who came and went during the two-year process in an estimated 18 different studios. Loveless has become a legend as much as a rock album.
The facts are a lot simpler. It was My Bloody Valentine’s second album, the follow-up to 1988’s Isn’t Anything. They started recording it in 1989, took a break to tour in 1990 and finished the album in 1991.
Since its release, Loveless has become a landmark record, lauded regularly and loudly as an album which, in so many ways, reinvented the sound of dizzy guitars, white noise melodies and ethereal harmonies.
When the band began recording Loveless in a London studio in February 1989, the label thought it would take five days. By September, they had moved studios and started all over again. Alan McGee was unhappy to say the least, so band leader Kevin Shields barred him from the studio. Recording continued.
Shields admitted to Magnet magazine last year that he was “a bit of a tyrant” during those sessions. “I would just really be strict. It got to the point where I lived with these songs for more than a year, and the melodies were only in my head.”
He recalled in another interview how they spent their time during those months and years. “The vast majority of evenings we spent in bed while we were making the album. We started work at midnight, went to bed in the morning, not really waking up until 10 at night. When you do that for months and months, a year, years, you get pretty disorientated.
“But you see all the world events before everyone else does because you watch the morning news on TV-AM. And you see everything three or four times.
“We got bombarded by the Gulf War. The only thing that didn’t seem to fit in was the outside world. Serious world events were the only time gauge we had for what was going on.”
But work was being done. Shields explained the genesis behind the album’s sound to Magnet. “When making records, I got it into my head that some of the big no-nos were no echo, no reverb, no chorus or flanger and no panning. The one effect I would use was this reversed-reverb effect, which is very reverb-y, all of these things I was against, right?
“But the irony was that with these effects, you could actually play harder, and it sounded really different. If you played softer, the sound changed dramatically. I would work with a tremolo to get this other dynamic and suddenly had a language I could kind of express myself with, which I never really had before. I found a voice, and I could do it well.” What happened next? Acclaimed on its release ( Melody Maker called it “the outermost, innermost, uttermost rock record of 1991”), Loveless peaked at number 24 in the British album charts. The band have not yet recorded a follow-up, but have re-formed and play the Electric Picnic later this year.