Review: Loveless - My Bloody Valentine
Release: November 4, 1991
By Rhys Tarling
The first track, Only Shallow, greets the listener with a violent, mechanical wail. It’s almost enough to make you want to shut it off. But hold out for one minute and you’ll find its druggy, woozy, and utterly seductive guitar, drum work, and elegant lyrics work in perfect tandem with the succeeding violent, mechanical wails.
In this way, Only Shallow is a perfect microcosm of the challenging art that is Loveless – ear-bleeding ugliness and softly sung beauty; one elevates the other by stark contrast.
Actually, it’s not even as simple as that. The sonic wails that permeate the other track, When You Sleep doesn’t provide a contrast, but rather reveals the depth of an emotional wound that the lyrics only shyly hint at: “And I’ll see you tomorrow, and it won’t be long, once in a while, then you take me down, then you walk away.”
There is a track where the experimental sound feels out of place and baffling, the 40 second journey through some ungodly jungle that is Touched, but isn’t that to be expected with an album that basically invented new sounds? Not just new sounds, but new emotions. This whole album is like a gift from aliens.
Sometimes is perhaps the standout track of Loveless. Sonically, it’s the simplest and seemingly the flattest. But within the wall of warm distorted guitars and dreamy vocals is pure enchantment and wonder – it’s something you have to find for yourself and is not laid out in such a bare, obvious way.
Listen to this album – not while doing work or screwing around on the net, but in the dark and with some illicit substances settled in your system, just as the creators of this masterwork intended for it to be heard.