Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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My Bloody Valentine

  • Isn't Anything [Relativity, 1988] A-
  • Glider [Sire/Warner Bros., 1990] A-
  • Tremolo [Sire/Warner Bros., 1991] A-
  • Loveless [Sire/Warner Bros., 1991] A-
  • mbv [, 2013] **

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Isn't Anything [Relativity, 1988]
Having caught up with this band a little too late to slip their debut album into my '80s book, I grabbed the chance to look back and noticed what I would have missed then: how songful it is. Pioneers in the rejection of melody just then transforming the dance music their own electronica concept runs parallel to, they're too busy rehabbing Jesus and Mary Chain to immerse forthwith in the grand and ugly atmospherics that would make Loveless a pomo classic. In other words, they haven't rejected melody yet, and on the half of the album where they manage a seamless meld they carry a tune on some of the most gut-wrenching guitar textures then yet heard, and not only that--although lyrics are irrelevant to this achievement, the "Loved me black and blue" of Bilinda Butcher's "No More Sorry" could be about what her daddy did and could be about hiding it from him, and Kevin Shields's "Sueisfine" definitely doesn't advise suicide and definitely does live with it. Pretty sharp for the love-is-pain school, I'd say. A-

Glider [Sire/Warner Bros., 1990]
The first two cuts all but wordless, the final two murmured in a studio-stoned trance, this is the industrial new age their organlike guitars have always promised--the reliable rhythm of a giant linoleum buffer systematically rubbing the skin off your soul. A-

Tremolo [Sire/Warner Bros., 1991]
A four-song sampler builds off an anthem from the forthcoming Loveless to the spectacular guitaristics of "Honey Power," a pomo "Telstar" that shifts midway into doo-doo-doo--from which it segues into something depressive but not therefore unreminiscent of "Telstar." So take the test. Can you stand it? If so, you're ready for the longer stuff. A-

Loveless [Sire/Warner Bros., 1991]
If you believe the true sound of life on planet earth is now worse than bombs bursting midair or runaway trains--more in the direction of scalpel against bone, or the proverbial giant piece of chalk and accoutrements--this CD transfigures the music of our sphere. Some may cringe at the grotesque distortions they extract from their guitars, others at the soprano murmurs that provide theoretical relief. I didn't much go for either myself. But after suitable suffering and peer support, I learned. In the destructive elements immerse. A-

mbv [, 2013]
And the dearth was without form and droid, and texture was upon the bass of the beat ("New You," "In Another Way") **

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