The arrival after twenty odd years of a new My Bloody Valentine album is a thing of wonder. That it has arrived and is not shit is an even greater wonder. Then I suspect Kevin Shields has half a dozen quite good MBV albums worth of material languishing gathering dust, ok but not good enough to meet his exacting standards.
He is a true maverick in a music industry well populated by the pseudo variety. He is also amongst a small group of genuine musical radicals. Most rock iconoclasts do it with attitude, saying the unsayable to a backing that is in musical terms generic. The musical journey from Small Faces to the Sex Pistols was a short one. From Hendrix and Cream to Led Zepp more arguably so.
MBV, like Kraftwerk are musical iconoclasts, changing what can qualify as pop music forever. Alan McGee once described them as the British Husker Du. It is no slight on Bob Mould's band to say that this was aiming low. Rather than leading a movement they killed off their disciples, making leaps forward that left the likes of Slowdive, Ride, Chapterhouse and a slew of others looking redundant as they gazed into the lights of the on rushing Britpop locomotive. MBV are the sonic antichrist to the perky, swaggering lad rock indie of Blur and Oasis.
It is great to know they are still with us, and still doing their thing in their own awkward squad way.