My Bloody Valentine – To Here Knows When

In November, 1991, My Bloody Valentine released what will probably be their last album Loveless. The band reformed in 2007 and are a rare example of a band ‘coming back’ without tarnishing their past. No new material has been released and with a perfectionist in the band like few others they have been known to simply can ‘new’ material without it ever surfacing.

I do not feel qualified to posthumously review Loveless for a bunch of reasons. Largely because I do not know the album as well as I should. I have been listening to My Bloody Valentine pretty solidly for the last few days and can see why they are held in such high regard.

Listening to the band and reading others thoughts I could not offer a better review than some I have read. The album offers a wall of sound – cathedral of noise – combined with near muted vocals that somehow evoke rare feelings that music can touch.

Loveless did to ‘shoegazing’ what Nevermind did for ‘grunge’. It maxed it out. It cannot be realistically topped. Reaching a summit / attempting to better the record would be a near impossibility. No wonder that the band ponder their next move like some chess grandmaster.

What Loveless does that is so unique is that it sounds like no other record before or since. The ‘guitar’ just does not sound like that anywhere else. The album is often cited as evoking the feeling of being deeply in love, of being warm, of feeling safe. The best comment I have read about Loveless may be that it makes “one feel like they are back in the womb”. There are not many records at all that I have read such deep comments about.

To Here Knows When not only has a sublime song title it pretty much personifies the album upon which it sits. The listener can barely make out the lyrics. Waves of sonic guitar and patterned looped drums. The song reminds me of The Velvet Underground but generationally it makes more sense, has more appeal to me. Before one makes out the lyrics you can feel its vibe, there’s almost no need to fathom them out. When you do make out the lyrics they match the loved up drone with sheer perfection:

Kiss
Your fear
Your red button
Falls from my mouth

Slip
Your dress
Over your head
It’s been so long

Move
On top
Because that way
You touch her too

Turn
Your head
Come back again
To here knows when

The accompanying live performance from 2008 shows the band have timeless qualities that few can match. The comment on YouTube from ‘ThePantgruel” states “she just stands there whispering, and it’s just one of the most beautiful things” – I’m not going to disagree with that…

mbv

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