The Best Albums of 2013, #13

band01My Bloody Valentine, m b v

Personally I was perfectly happy with the idea that there would not be another My Bloody Valentine album after Loveless. Why even bother following up one of the few truly perfect albums of the last quarter century? Kevin Shields managed to create an otherworldly masterpiece that to this day sounds as puzzling and alien yet warm and beautiful as it did two decades ago. So it was with a wary eye and fair amount of skepticism that I followed the online excitement when it was suddenly announced that a third My Bloody Valentine album would see the light of day back in February. And much to my surprise, it not only felt like a continuation of where Loveless left off, but a record that also opens doors to new possibilities. It turns out Shields still has no shortage of ideas, and along with the classic lineup of Bilinda Butcher, Debbie Googe, and Colm Ó Cíosóig he’s created a piece of work that’s as doggedly experimental as it is utterly enchanting. The album veers from the guitar wizardry of “She Found Now” and “Only Tomorrow”, to the much more melodic strains of “Is This and Yes” and “New You”, and then starts to combine melody and dissonance, delicateness and power on such cuts as “In Another Way” and the colossal “Wonder 2”. Yet at the same time this album is so tastefully mastered, compelling the listener to turn the volume a little higher than usual, wanting to be enveloped in that music more and more. For all the daring moments its sheer familiarity is what ultimately makes this album so enjoyable, especially for a lot of people my age. So many years have passed, and yet My Bloody Valentine still sounds like My Bloody Valentine should, and that alone is a very, very good thing.