mbv brouhaha ex­plains why MBV went AWOL for 22 years

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - OPINION -

The re­ac­tion to mbv so far? Good Je­sus. Never in has so much bull­shit been writ­ten by so many for so few. Track-by-track re­views of an im­por­tant new re­lease are to be ex­pected, but this week we had a sec­ond-by-sec­ond re­view of My Bloody Valen­tine’s new al­bum. Or an at­tempt at same.

A random flick through the re­views give us the fol­low­ing: “it sounds like be­ing hit on the head with a shovel and fall­ing into a well half-filled with honey”; “it in­verts the prob­a­ble na­ture of in­stru­men­ta­tion”; “it has a sickly, dis­con­cert­ing qual­ity, like a kind of au­ral equiv­a­lent of the way you feel just be­fore you faint”; “songs that sound like Bea­tles clas­sics played back­wards, and heard through a wall of pud­ding”.

It seemed ev­ery per­son re­view­ing the al­bum had to pref­ace their “in­sights” with a brief au­to­bi­og­ra­phy: where they were and what they were do­ing when they first heard Love­less. Like we care.

You soon over­dose on the same words be­ing used in the same place. I ac­tu­ally tried play­ing a drink­ing game when­ever the words “breathy”, “dis­torted” and “shim­mer­ing” were used but soon had to give up. If you owned the copy­right to the word “shim­mer­ing” you’d be a gazil­lion­aire this week thanks to mbv re­views.

Some­body even went to the trou­ble to in­form us that it had been “21 years, 2 months, 29 days, and 23 hours” since the re­lease of Love­less. And one brave sol­dier even got Mar­garet Thatcher and the Il­lu­mina--

Wel­come back: My Bloody Valen­tine dur­ing the 1991 Love­less tour

ti into the same para­graph.

Artists that were men­tioned as ref­er­ence points or in­spi­ra­tions in­cluded Min­istry, Happy Mon­days, Steve Re­ich, Big Coun­try, Des­tiny’s Child and A Cer­tain Ra­tio. Large amounts of peo­ple saw fit to crow­bar the terms “top end” and “bot­tom end” into their re­views, de­spite not hav­ing the vaguest idea of what the terms ac­tu­ally mean. And peo­ple who’ve likely never been on the same street as a record­ing stu­dio were writ­ing mini-es­says on how the mix­ing desk was used dur­ing this al­bum. Vi­brato or tremolo? Nei­ther, so shut up.

Some of this “look-at-me” non­sense makes Fin­negans Wake read like a Dan Brown novel: “It fills the sky with imag­i­nary vapour trails, and cre­ates the il­lu­sion of be­ing strapped Icarus-like into a jet eight miles high and climb­ing”; “a honey-coloured smear of whis­pers and sighs in which syl­la­bles are no more dis­tinct – and no less lulling – than waves in an ocean”.

Pud­dings, trum­pets, the Il­lu­mi­nati, shov­els, honey and in­vert­ing the prob­a­ble na­ture of in­stru­men­ta­tion. No won­der MBV dis­ap­peared for more than 20 years. bboyd@irish­times.com

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