Serena-Maneesh – SM2: Abyss In B Minor (4AD)
Quite possibly, the most accurate interpretation of My Bloody Valentine‘s Loveless since Kevin Shields submitted the invoice to Creation Records for the recording fees from that landmark album.
Yes, I’m aware that I’ve penned a number reviews that active use Loveless as a handy reference point, but Serena-Maneesh‘s second album, SM2: Abyss In B Minor, is such a spotless reinterpretation of Shields’ shoegaze classic that I’m inclined to tell everyone waiting for a My Bloody Valentine reunion album to pitch the idea and lend your support behind these Norwegian sound manipulators.
Forged in a cave (literally), the band took their underground recordings to Nick Terry (Primal Scream) Rene Tinner (Can) for some additional tinkering and handed the final results to Ray Staff, the same dude that mastered some of those classic English albums that are sitting in your record collection. All of this is just a fancy way of saying that Serena-Maneesh take their guitar whitewashing very seriously, and even when they’re pumped through the compressed confines of your shitty earbuds, the results are incredible.
Opener “Ayisha Abyss” builds from an atmospheric wind-up into a distorted bass groove, and for over seven minutes, listeners are thrown creepy piano phrases that never manage to find the proper pitch, cheap keyboard rhythm breaks, and disjointed vocals that seem to be muttering, “take it there” underneath all of the echo treatments.
By the second track (“I Just Want To See Your Face”), the Belinda Butcher vocals start to creep in, but they don’t stop with just easy MBV member comparisons. I’ll be damned if S-M frontman Emile Nikolaisen doesn’t sound like he wants to wipe Shields completely off the shoegaze family tree.
Not content with living within a wall of fuzz, Serena-Maneesh take matters a step further-a bit of Sunn 0))) doom metal here, a bit of Swans brooding there, all mixed together in a such heady barrage of sound that it took over a week to mix each track.
The dedication has paid off, as Abyss In B Minor is one of the year’s most welcomed surprises. It’s a meticulous document that could be the bastard son of Loveless, for sure, but more importantly, it could be the album that steers your heart towards a new source of beautiful eardrum mayhem.
Video: Serena-Maneesh – “I Just Want To See Your Face”
MP3: Serena-Maneesh – “I Just Want To See Your Face”