Released: May 7th
There are two types of great records – those that change the world, and those that are just plain perfect in every way. My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless is the latter. After allegedly bankrupting Creation, the bands label, and taking three years to make, Loveless was finally released in 1991. Conceived on a strict diet of sex and sleep deprivation and sounding like nothing anyone had ever heard before, it took the Spectoresque noisepop of the Jesus and Mary Chain and refined it into a new sound – one that would come to be known as shoegaze.
After twenty-one years with no new record, but one reunion tour just a few years ago under their belts, My Bloody Valentine are back with the long awaited versions of their albums Isn’t Anything, Loveless, and a compilation of their many EPs all remastered by the band’s frontman, songwriter, producer, and overall genius in Kevin Shields. Such is Shield’s perfectionism that two remasters of Loveless are being released – one from the original tape and another from the ½ inch analogue tapes.
You first realise Loveless is like nothing you’ve ever heard before in your life about a second into the albums’ opening track, Only Shallow. Walls and layers of swirling, drowning guitars fill the speakers. The remastered version takes this to another level, with the two guitar tracks sounding more distinct, and thus more together than ever before. Where Only Shallow started as a clustered wall of noise, the remastered version only builds this wall higher.
Moving on from Only Shallow, the next few tracks blend together like the ingredients of the tastiest sandwich you’ve ever eaten. The reverb-heavy Loomer, the almost droning, minute-long Touched, and one of the high points of the album To Here Knows When. With Bilinda Butcher’s dreamy vocals and almost non-existent lyrics with Kevin Shields‘ masterminded guitars it’s easy to get lost to the sound of Loveless.
As Loveless goes on, through When You Sleep and I Only Said, a track stacked sky high with the bands trademark layers and reverb to Come in Alone, Bilinda Butcher’s finest point vocal-wise. The next song however, is the bittersweet Sometimes as heard in Lost in Translation. To call Sometimes a masterpiece would be an understatement. Managing to sound both raw and blissful, angry and easy, noisy and soft, the sound of the plectrum picking the strings is clearly heard underneath the distortion. Sometimes provides five minutes of blissed out noisy dreampop.
If I’ve hit a number of clichés during the writing of this review, it’s because there are often no other words to describe what Shields was doing during the production of Loveless – so unique are the tricks of his trade that you have to use words like ‘swirling’ or ‘dreamy’ to describe the sound. Sometimes follow ups, Blown a Wish and What You Want fit these descriptions perfectly, carrying on the sound that makes Loveless so distinctive and wonderful. It’s the album’s closer Soon, however, that puts the icing on the cake - a seven minute long collage of guitars and synths, backed by Colm O’Closoig’s almost polyrythmic drumming, making Soon seem almost like a dance track.
So how does the remaster of Loveless compare to the original? Louder, more distinctive and much more powerful the remastered versions (both of them, remember) take Loveless and make it sound brand new all over again. Loveless was the best album of all time BEFORE it was remastered, and it’s the best album of all time after.