There’s not many things in life you can rely upon like Mogwai. Perhaps a really reliable plumber is the best comparison I can make. There they are year in year out to service all your post rock needs and come up with the odd chucklesome song title (check the press release for this year’s entry). This is their 9th album and was recorded in New York with Dave Fridmann. It contains in 56 minutes of their signature sound of post rock elegance and euphoric noise-scapes. Big box set too with demos and all sorts.
Vinyl Double LP £18.99 ROCKACT108LP
Black vinyl 2LP on Rock Action.
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Vinyl LP box set £51.99 ROCKACT108
Box set on Rock Action. Includes CD + white heavyweight vinyl 2LP + heavyweight black vinyl 12" (6 tracks of album demos) + set of Tarbox Road photographic prints.
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CD £4.99 ROCKACT108CD
CD on Rock Action.
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Limited Vinyl Double LP £20.49 ROCKACT108LPX
Limited indies only clear vinyl 2LP on Rock Action.
Like a mostly instrumental version of Runrig that you could bring home to meet your ma, Mogwai have been pleasantly creating soundscapes for so many years now that each album is like a freshly poured dram of whiskey to warm you as you return to Scotland after a long time away on bleak European roads. Opener 'Coolverine' is Mogwai. I'm reluctant to say that this is Mogwai by numbers as that sounds like a put down. It's as comforting as a warm blanket yet expertly produced with drums cavorting across the delicious downward descending melody. You can imagine them playing this live and people crying.
Me, I like Mogwai when they try to write pop songs and that's why 'Party in the Dark' is my favourite thing by them this year. To fans of their noisier elements this song could be sacrilege but it has a bounding chorus that I want to hear on 6 Music instead of John Grant or whatever bores they are promoting. Still, it's Mogwai so it's not completely clear - the vocals are bound up in reverb that helps the band sound like they are trying to escape from fog. It's the most immediate thing they've done and it's just super.
The album has definitely been front-loaded with the two very best moments so from then on in the album sounds, if not anything near a letdown, just full of the sort of thing Mogwai do pretty well. Dave Fridmann has recorded it so you are going to have to get used to the compressed Flaming Lips drum sound but this alongside the fizzing synths on 'Brain Sweeties' make them sound even more like they are playing to you from the top of a mountain. 'Crossing the Road Material' sounds rather like Pell Mell with a particularly ear hurting 'ebowed guitar' buzzing around like an errant wasp, 'Ak47' has the blurred electronic touch of fellow Scots Boards of Canada and '1000 Foot Face' has the spacial drift of Spiritualized in their pomp. Meanwhile the John Carpenter-esque synths of the brilliantly titled 'Don't Believe the Fife' recall similar forays of 'Rave Tapes'. It's here that Mogwai don't even sound like a band anymore being closer to a sugar coated Pye Corner Audio than anything else.
That the album never lives up to it's opening moments shouldn't put long term fans off this. Though there are a few filler moments - both 'Battered at a Scramble' and 'Old Poisons' flip past without registering much - Mogwai like they always have give enough of themselves in those handful of stellar moments so you can forgive moments of laurel resting elsewhere. They've worked hard, they deserve it.
8/10 Marc 6th October 2017
It's Mogwai innit. Just annoyingly consistent. If you're a Mogwai fan, buy it. If you've never heard of Mogwai, still buy it.
8/10 Mazoué 27th September 2017
We are not on the best album of this group, but we salute this return worthy of a good album completed but without real surprise.
10/10 Andrew 14th September 2017
9/10 Tim 14th September 2017
Mogwai are probably my favourite band. I've followed them since I first heard them properly in early 1998. This is a great edition to their cannon. Highly recommend for old fans and hopefully new ones. The departure of founder member Jon Cummings in the Autumn of 2015 does not seem to have affected the quality of their tunes. A great band that continue to make very special music and live in concert they are phenomenal. Worth your time.
Thanks fellas :)
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