So why has it taken Kevin Shields so long to make a follow up to Loveless, eh? It’s not as if he doesn’t have the time, seeing as he’s gallivanting about the world lending a touch of gutted-whale noize cred to Bobby Gillespie’s radical-chic pantomime. In fact his current Screamular employment suggests mostly that Island have lost patience with his self-indulgent delay tactics and cut off his cashflow: no more tooling around in purpose-built home studios for you, Mr. Shields! “Great!” think the MBV-lovin’ kids, “Now he’ll have to make a new record!”. Well, um, no. Shields is the Clapton of the weird-sound crew, obviously happy as a pig in shit to go round the world pumping out ‘contributions’ (i.e. noise) and ‘remixes’ (i.e. noise) on other people’s records, happily resting on the enormous piles of laurels critics have seen fit to garland him with. And if the implied self-comparison to Sun Ra is anything to go by, he’s as arrogant as Clapton, too.

Or maybe he’s the Derrick May of indie rock, never making a new record because he doesn’t think we’re worth it. It’s not that we’re not worth it, though, it’s that a new MBV record wouldn’t be worth having anyway. Because Loveless is, in essence, a novelty album, a sound-effects record with ideas above its station. Wow, here’s a crazy noise! Wow, here it is again, and so on with rapidly diminishing returns. (Though we should be thankful even for that: as a quick listen to the wretched warblings on Isn’t Anything indicate, you wouldn’t want to listen to MBV for the songs). The appeal of Loveless is the cheap appeal of a street magician – how did he do that with a guitar? (An FX box, probably) But Shields radically expanded the vocabulary of the intrument! Well, I can radically expand my vocabulary too, by inventing the words “gribzek”, “ptok” and “bvgrd” – it doesn’t mean any other fucker will want to use them. MBV get talked about as putting some kind of ‘full stop’ on rock music, but who’d want to follow a blowsy mess like Loveless? The one big breakthrough on the record – marrying Shields’ guitar blurtings to something that slightly resembled a beat – was roundly ignored by the hosts of successor bands on contented cottage labels like Kranky, who’ve happily churned out identikit drifty, billowing Valentine-esque stuff ever since, for the diminishing number of people who still give a damn.