It's the news even the most optimistic fans never thought they'd hear: My Bloody Valentine, the brainchild of perhaps alt-rock's most reclusive mastermind Kevin Shields, will release their first new album in 21 years... and they'll do it next month. As in, in less than 30 days. As in, less than four weeks. As in, in December. Even better: that album will be followed by an EP. When Shields giveth, he giveth.
"We're halfway through mixing," Shields told NME of the untitled LP. "It's a more emotionally connecting record than anything we've done before."
With all the MBV fanatics posting fake reports online, how did such monumental news go unoticed?
The album is the follow-up to 1991's Loveless, one of the most universally acclaimed and influential albums in the rock pantheon; a gorgeous, cranked-up-to-11 layer-cake of guitar squall and melodious bliss.
Shields tells NME that the new LP might sound even trippier than Loveless, but, you know, probably not: "Based on the very, very few people who've heard stuff, some people think it's stranger than Loveless," he said. "I don't. I think with this record, people who like us will immediately connect with something." He described the new tracks as "differentish and sameish," and "warmer."
As for the pressures of following Loveless, which has only become more iconic over the past two decades, Shields is "expecting some trouble," he said, "but, you know what? I don't care about all of that. I know it's a record that's going to mean something to a significant amount of people who really liked us. The rest, I don't really care about."
MBV fans have long speculated over unreleased albums, and Shields said the new LP is based on recordings he started in 1996, but scrapped a year later. It was "a quite conceptual thing because I purposefully didn't want to write songs in a linear fashion," he said of those ditched sessions. Earlier this year, when he was remastering MBV's back catalogue for re-release, he returned to the songs after discovering he "really liked the guitar sounds."
When asked for specifics on tracks, Shields played his cards close; he called one track "a real pop song, though the arrangement isn't very pop," adding that it an instrumental ending "with vocals from [bassist] Bilinda [Butcher]."
And let's hope this means a return to the stage. The band, which split in 1997, reunited in 2008 for a run of gigs, including appearances at Coachella and All Tomorrow's Parties. Their tour stop at New York City's Roseland Ballroom proved transcendent; the floor literally rattled from bass; the seawall of guitar wash crashed in your chest; the bliss and beauty was cranked.
It remains the only show where I was handed two pairs of earplugs upon walking into the venue: "You'll need these," the bouncer said. "Last night the EMT took two kids out from ear damage. So don't lose them. I'm serious."