My Bloody Valentine - Loveless (Cover Artwork)

My Bloody Valentine

Loveless (1991)


A Howard Hughes-esque ode to the mania of pursuit, My Bloody Valentines Loveless stands as a towering ziggarut to making the most beautiful noise possible. Two years in the making, My Bloody Valentine's sweeping epic still manages to come off as breathtaking even after more than 10 years.

Everything about this album is perfect. From the pink dream haze of the cover art to the ambient soundscapes that link each song, Loveless delivers on all fronts. On their previous release, the seminal Isn't Anything, My Bloody Valentine laid a sonic blueprint of swirling guitar and sensual girl/boy vocals, one that bands like Ride, Slow Dive, and the Boo Radleys would base their sound off of for many years. However My Bloody Valentine were not content to sit on their laurels. Rather, after Isn't Anything, My Bloody Valentine locked themselves away to produce one of the most genius albums of the rock and roll era.

Loveless opens with "Only Shallow". The song features Kevin Shield's and Belinda Buthcer's dense, impenetrable guitar playing matched against drummer Colm O'Ciosoig effecient drumming. The see-saw guitar line that runs throughout is the guitar sound that God dreams about. "Loomer" features Colm's pummeling tom beats while heavily processed guitar dances over head with Belinda Butcher's airy, ethereal vocals. On Loveless, the vocals are consistently low in the mix, a technique that works quite well with the record. As oppossed to commanding you attention, the vocals simply come off as another sound to be explored. On "When You Sleep", shimmering guitar conceals quite possibly the most gorgeous melody of the past decade. Kevin Sheilds guitar playing employs all sorts of tactics on this album: wah-wah, distortion, reverb, overdubs, and whatever else the man thought up. The last track, "Soon", rides away on a drumbeat that gives a little more than merely a passing glance to the influential rave movement of the time while Kevin Shields' and Belinda Buthcher's guitars do spirals in the atmosphere.

Whether Loveless can ever be topped in its sheer brilliance remains to be seen. However, until then, we have Loveless to provide us with a small sample of heaven.