It could be considered insane—not to mention sacrilegious—to take on even one song from My Bloody Valentine’s landmark shoegaze album Loveless: there’s too much going on, too little solid ground to walk around on. But not only has Kenny Feinstein, frontman for bluegrass-punk band Water Tower, adapted the masterpiece in full for his debut solo outing, he did it with acoustic guitar, mandolin, dobro, fiddle, and dulcimer.
Feinstein described his inspiration: "I forced myself to listen to Loveless over and over because I did not understand it I was confused by the sounds coming from it. Finally, when listening to ‘Loomer’ while driving around a mall in Fort Lauderdale I had an epiphany during the chorus. I could not tell if the sound was being made by a human, a synth, a guitar, a bass or anything, but I did not care, all I could gather was that it was the most blissful sound I had ever heard."
The de-electrified versions of MBV’s classics have an unusually striking quality—here, the instrumentation is all beautifully distinct, and for once Kevin Shield’s lyrics, more deftly poetic than most listeners realize, are allowed to shine out of the mix. In acoustic, sometimes skeletal form, tracks like “I Only Said” and “Soon” feel like something aliens could be strumming on their back porches.
Below, check out the music video for “What You Want,” featuring songwriter Richard Buckner (who has also covered the Joy Division classic “Love Will Tear Us Apart” to similar transfixing effect).