From the vault: 1991

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 April, 2008, 12:00am

My Bloody Valentine



Amid all the recent heavyweight reunions by cherished rock acts such as Led Zeppelin and the Police, one surprise regrouping could potentially tower above them all.

So when My Bloody Valentine take to the stage in London for a series of shows in June (their first in more than 15 years), the already sold-out event will no doubt be raved about by ageing fans.

After all, the Irish quartet largely created a sound that has since become a genre of its own - shoegazing.

During the late 1980s, Kevin Shields, the group's brainchild and guitarist, released a series of EPs

and one album (Isn't Anything) while the lineup rotated. By the time he decided to trade off on vocals with guitarist Belinda Butcher (below with Shields), the group's loud, droning, bass-heavy, guitar effects-dominated sound was, literally, pinning audiences to walls during live gigs.

With a major buzz about them, the group signed to Creation Records and hit the studio to make their second effort, Loveless, which legend has it cost close to GBP1 million (HK$15.5 million) and almost sent the label bankrupt.

But since it hit the streets, the band's masterpiece has only grown in stature. On opening track Only Shallow, Butcher wispily and gamely matches her voice against a guitar army that swirls, hovers, swoops and divebombs around

her. During Touched, heavily treated guitars that sound like mating whales call each other through an orchestral sound that morphs into yet more dreamy passages by Butcher. Though the 11 tracks have only a handful of songs that could remotely be called singles, the sequencing, non-stop flow and 360-degree feel of the album made it seem like one long dream.

The upbeat electronic drums and vague poppyness of concluding track Soon hinted at the direction the group might have taken. There was such unanimous acclaim over the release that the reclusive Shields seemed paralysed by it all - and the band haven't been able to complete another album since despite a six-figure major label record deal.




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