Could you feel the collective sigh of relief on Saturday when someone finally got through to download the new My Bloody Valentine record? It was like waiting in line for two hours for a 45 second roller coaster ride, one of those moments where you try to justify spending so much time on edge for something so fleeting. Indeed, one of the most anticipated, delayed, and rumored albums in popular music history is here at last and it feels... surprisingly routine. Chalk it up to one of the more anticlimactic album releases ever seen, but none of the fanfare, obsession, or hype we've come to expect from a release of this caliber or something built upon endless optimistic enthusiasm happened over the past few months. Instead, a handful of sheepish hints from Kevin Shields, including last week's semi-sarcastic announcement that the new record would be out "maybe in two to three days." It took about double that, but m b v went live on the band's website over the weekend. Kind of. The server immediately crashed as tens of thousands of people spent their Saturday night refreshing the same 403 error over and over again until a brave soul made it through and uploaded it for the rest of the struggling masses.

Loveless, deservedly showered with veneration and mythology, began with four violent snare hits - those four hits becoming the subject of much of their own lore. Indeed, the first one second of 'Only Shallow' gives little indication of the madness that is to come, considering that the milliseconds between each of those four beats contains some of the only points of silence on that entire record. In comparison, m b v begins not with a bang, but with a whimper of a familiar guitar tone billowing up like thick smoke. 'She Found Now' in contrast to 'Only Shallow', has no howling guitars, no percussion, and only the faintest whisper of a melody. It's no mistake that it leads off this band's first album in nearly 22 years; 'She Found Now' might as well be titled 'I Can't Believe It's Not Loveless'.

In theory, m b v is split up into three manageable sections with separate styles and themes. The first section, with 'She Found Now', 'Only Tomorrow', and 'Who Sees You', establishes an easy segue into a post-follow-up era, in a sense compressing all the adored traits of Loveless into 17 minutes of bliss. 'Who Sees You' in particular, recalling the more upfront vocal interplay from 'When You Sleep'. The middle third of the album is comparatively softer and dripping with hooks, and in somewhat of a twist, propelled often by the lyrics rather than the wall of sound. 'Is This and Yes', a blissful organ-driven ambient piece, is a particularly stunning deviation from the expected, coming across as something reminiscent of Stereolab or Beach House, both acts who have taken significant influence from My Bloody Valentine to create their own sound. 'New You', formerly known for about a week as 'Rough Song', rides a thick, bouncing bass line for five minutes, indicating some trace of the dance music-influenced sequel that was alluded to in the 90s.

In interviews last year, Shields hinted at "weirder" content on the new record, a quote which actually contained some truth. The final third of the album is darker and more violent, 'Nothing Is' in particular, is a three and a half minute crescendo of punishing, hypnotizing noise. The last track on the album, 'Wonder 2', erupts like every hyperbole of My Bloody Valentine you've ever heard. It sounds like a war happening inside an airplane engine, with a machine gun-like drum roll sustaining for 6 minutes underneath phased guitars. The three different sections of m b v, while significantly different when separated, make complete sense when delivered under the umbrella of a release from this band. m b v accomplishes the rare feat of being both timeless and in-the-moment; sounding like a '92 or '93 follow-up to Loveless would have sounded while simultaneously feeling as modern as any 2013 album with a RIYL: My Bloody Valentine on the press sheet.

I've been alive nearly as long as some people have been waiting for this album. Seeing this album released ended one of the classic folktales of indie rock: the art that broke the artist. With any shred of optimism, one would expect that kind of lore and a two decade tease would free this album from some of the more mundane complaints of modern-day music consumption culture. Yet, within minutes of the album release forum threads exploded with outrage that the official mp3 download was a transcode, the album cover was ugly (it really is), the title was unimaginitive, $16 is too much for an mp3 download, et cetera. Within seconds of its release the album release became a bigger event than the music. In some way, it drowned out most of the actual criticism of the music. m b v doesn't have two decades of romance to prop itself up; the mythology for this record will be created by what happens to the band in the coming years. The lengthy chapter on Loveless has finally closed. In all honesty, I haven't had nearly enough time to give this record a proper review, or explain what it represents in music history. I'll let you know when I'm 44.