It's really fucking good -- let's start with that. mbv will probably go down in the history books as the most highly anticipated album of all time. Well, maybe neck in neck with Chinese Democracy, that damn Axl Rose project that we all deludingly claimed was worthy of the Guns N' Roses title. But in terms of successful anticipation -- for Kevin Shields to wait 22 years to not only finally release the follow up to Loveless, but to have it raise the legacy of his band to an even higher pantheon of rock wonder, is a feat we may never again witness in music. To put it in temporal perspective, it's like if after Rubber Soul came out in 1965, Revolver didn't hit the shelves til 1987 -- or if Led Zeppelin II didn't appear until 1991.
When I first put on my headphones, I had the same nervous tingling in my gut that I did when I listened to The Beta Band's horrendous sophomore LP. But then "She Found Now" kicked in with its throbbing explosion, and I suddenly felt like time had stopped right as the flash of a nuke was about to hit my eyes -- pulsing and glitching just steps away - terribly frightening yet so assuredly safe that you want to thrust your face into the light. What relief. What ecstasy. The realized dream of rock geeks the world over: the new My Bloody Valentine record is real… and fucking amazing. By the time the 3rd track started, "Who Sees You," I realized that my pussy-ass Bose speakers couldn't physically go any louder. And while there is a touch more of a melodic framework here than on Loveless, these are still songs and sounds that you want to drown yourself in. The all-consuming nature of this music is like a form of accelerated sensory deprivation. It instantly launches you into a symbiotic relationship with the sound; a steady stream of mutual absorption between your unified atoms and the frequency of the electric guitar.
Somehow, thank god, Bilinda Butcher's vocals are still as ethereal and illusive as ever. After all this time, I still have no clue what one word of the lyrics she sings on Loveless is, and 22 years from now I'll still have no clue what any of the words on mbv are. But complaining about that is like complaining about not properly knowing what hue of indigo lies within glacial ice -- some things in life just are entities solely unto themselves. I could go on and on… how perfectly imperfect the guitar tone is in "Who Sees You"… how "New You" is the most eerily beautiful anything of the past decade… how the drums on "In Another Way" sound like a syncopated stampede of rabid yak… how "Wonder 2" is most assuredly the sound of Neptune's rings… To simply delineate the enormity of this music into something so trivial as "shoegazing" is like classifying your life with a haircut. mbv is not only a testament to the potential triumphs of great bands lost along the way, but an ode to the authenticity of rebirth in general.