Listening to My Bloody Valentine's first new release in 22 years isn't quite like opening a time capsule from another era.
Many of the distinctive markers remain the same – the throb of distortion that smothers the hushed vocals; the guitar that changes pitch like a record slipping on a turntable – but this is a more uncompromising album than Loveless or Isn't Anything.
Second track Only Tomorrow puts its chords in an order that's recognisable as a rock song, while Is This And Yes offers relief with overlapping keyboards and the soft pillow of Bilinda Butcher's voice. But mbv is at its best when its textures are at their most dense and dark, when Kevin Shields treats the decibel level as another instrument in his musical arsenal.
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As Nothing Is loops itself into pure abstraction and She Found Now uses distortion to turn music into a tactile experience, you've got to wonder if Shields is now solely interested in production techniques over anything that could be termed songwriting. Like staring at a Rothko painting, mbv is art understood as total immersion in saturated colours, pulsating energy and shapes that bleed into each other.