Ethereal noise sculptors (and British “shoegazers”) My Bloody Valentine inspired an entire musical movement back in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, and their album Loveless is often tagged as the masterpiece of the genre. What might possibly motivate a fairly unknown, American indie band to produce their own version of the album 16 years later — track by track — is hard to fathom, but, hey, some people just live on the edge. While Japancakes share a talent for hypnotic, ambient-pop, their use of pedal steel guitar and spare, simple song constructions are worlds away from MBV’s layers of drone and buried melody. So, how do they fare on this well-meaning tribute?  Purists will of course have plenty of nits to pick, but Japancakes took a smart route in putting their own, distinctive imprint on these songs; any attempt to imitate would have been foolish. Supplanting waves of lush guitars on tracks like “Only Shallow” with reedy, weeping pedal steel guitar, and stripping down heavily-layered tracks like “Blown a Wish” to white space and plaintive strings puts these songs in a wholly different perspective ... it’s as if they’ve been translated into another language. As with most Japancakes recordings, Loveless is beautiful music, in any language, and certainly even some hardcore MBV fans will appreciate Japancakes’ loving interpretation of a classic record.

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