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Band releases third album 22 years later

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Column by Abbey Maynard

Abbey Maynard-w2000-h2000This year in music would just feel incomplete without at least mentioning the shocking reappearance of My Bloody Valentine’s third studio album, “m b v.”

These alt-rock superstars led by Kevin Shields released “m b v” after a long 22 years since their last studio album, “Loveless.”

I can only imagine that this album takes MBV fanatics back in time.

Angst-riddled teens now transformed into adults by age, but with few other signs of visceral maturity.

My Bloody Valentine was left in the past amongst cassette tapes of Nirvana’s “In Utero,” carefully distressed denim and flannel, and VHS copies of “Clerks.”

My Bloody Valentine gives heartfelt reminders at every turn that times are a changin’, but that doesn’t mean we can’t go back in time or make the past cool again.

Harsh guitar sounds and Shields’ undeniably unique vocals awake the spirit of the dormant grunge-rocker and a shallow ephemeral screech from the bowels of the Pacific Northwest echoes as MBV is resurrected.

I wonder how they did it — making the world not only sound like 1991, but feel like it, too. Or what I imagine 1991 to be like.

MBV remains unpolluted by new trends, and not in that sort of “stuck in 1986” way. It does not feel regressive at all.

It just sounds like they’ve been playing together — alone and in a basement — for the last 22 years, waiting to debut a marathon jam session.

The album doesn’t appear to have a beginning or an end, or even a middle. But it’s surprisingly cohesive and moves between tracks in a logical — though mystifying — way.

The rhythm guitar consumes the listener, cleverly fooling him or her into ignoring time as it strolls by.

The sound builds and builds and builds but seldom explodes with a singular point of release.

The record is full of worry and anxiety, a strange feeling for a group that’s been together so long.

And when the record ends, it’s both sad and frightening because of the lack of sonic closure.

The album is so unified that it ends before we really grasped that the record ever started.

As I listen, “m b v” makes me feel painfully discomforted and, well, loveless in the most beautiful way I could possibly imagine.

And the end of the record does just that, too. It reminds the listener that he or she is unavoidably alone.

But that doesn’t always mean that he or she has to be lonely.

So much has changed since My Bloody Valentine released “Loveless” in 1991. But one thing the group didn’t want to change was what music used to mean.

Though they released the album online when it debuted, I doubt it was an attempt to engage the Internet users of the world.

It was, perhaps, to engage an audience like previous generations — all gathered around a record player or blasting a cassette from car speakers so everyone could hear.

It was the record heard ‘round the world.  We all put our headphones on. Not to listen alone, but to listen together.

Maynard is a  sophomore English and study of culture and society  double major and can be reached at abigail.maynard@drake.edu

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