The all-Korean My Bloody Valentine tribute adds new angles to a classic.
Recently we wrote back-to-back articles about two exciting Korean artists who’d both covered My Bloody Valentine. Naively we believed this to be a coincidence, that the seminal Irish shoe-gazers had a surprisingly devoted fan base here in Korea. That would make sense as many of the bands here invoke the same dreamy, fuzzy style that MBV are known for. However, both tracks were taken from the same album – a song-for-song tribute to the band’s most well know album Loveless.
The album is called Blue Loveless (in response to Japan’s equivalent MBV tribute Yellow Loveless). While Yellow has some jaw-dropping moments (the slow-paced post-rock of Sometimes by Boris being a standout) the quality of it varies in a way that this Korean counterpart doesn’t.
The amount that each track relies on the source material fluctuates heavily. For example, the opening track (Vidulgi OoyoO’s Only Shallow) is an amalgamation of several different tracks from Loveless and acts as a broad representation of the My Bloody Valentine sound. In that way it’s the perfect opener; a solid introduction to MBV. One track later however and 電子羊 perform an epic psych-freak rendition of Loomer that bares almost no resemblance to the original.
The album is at its best when bands have taken a central idea from the original track and built something so distinctly them around it. Sunkyeol’s Touched borrows the main riff from the track but in a typically creative move for the band, they have made it all their own. Similarly, soundtrack artist and composer ninaian has contributed a sullen and moving version of Come in Alone in the same style as Bat For Lashes or Chelsea Wolfe.
The album finishes nicely with The Loom’s rendition of Soon. Like most of this album, it invokes the spirit of My Bloody Valentine’s original while injecting it with a new set of ideas and a new identity.
Of course comparing Blue Loveless to the original is a fool’s errand. Since this is recorded by 12 different artists, it lacks the same cohesive brilliance that ties all of Loveless together. Yet, despite the mesh of sounds and ideas, all the covers on this album feel linked by something other than the source material. This is a testament to the quality and creativity on display here from some of the best bands in Korea.