Japancakes: Loveless

B+
Album: Loveless
Label: Darla
B+
Album: Loveless
Label: Darla

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Even more surprising than Japancakes' decision to record a track-by-track instrumental cover of My Bloody Valentine's classic album Loveless is that the Georgia-based post-rockers do such a credible job. Loveless' reputation is based more on sound than songs, and given how meticulously MBV mastermind Kevin Shields crafted every single note on his magnum opus, it's hard to conceive how a band known for dreamy acoustica could replicate Shields' sonic or emotional intent. But Japancakes' Loveless isn't weak or gimmicky in the slightest. Their version of "When You Sleep," for example, uses violins, steel guitar, and watery organ to penetrate to the aching core of its source, tracing the striking melodic swoop that Shields' tremolo and distortion had previously obscured.

Japancakes' use of strings and keyboards to mimic My Bloody Valentine's mumbly vocals sometimes dulls a song's edge, rendering it overly kitschy; and unlike the original Loveless, the remake lacks the escalating tension that usually resolves in the ecstatic release of "Soon." But MBV fans may be taken aback by how likable and lovely Loveless sounds in this presentation. The effect is almost like listening to a friend enthuse articulately about a favorite record. Here, Japancakes explain to the world why they love Loveless.

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