Mogwai are one of the OG bands when it comes to post-rock. Their blend of quiet interludes swelling into cascades of momentous noise are the hallmarks of post-rock. But they are far more than just a genre creator. They bounce around in noise rock, art rock, film scores, and post-punk as well.
But what this Scottish band has bestowed on our bleeding ears more than anything is the importance of dynamics. Their albums are songs with building momentum and slow-churning emotional release. Mixing electronics, distortion, dissonance and melody over the course of 25 years and ten albums has made for a consistent and engaging discography.
On the band’s tenth album, As The Love Continues, Mogwai are still making dynamic albums that combine everything that’s come before with precision and thoughtful composition. This is yet another hour of grand musical annihilation.
“Here We, Here We, Here We Go On Forever”, on first listen, feels the most evolved in terms of sonic expansion. Electronic rhythm, synth structures, and delicate keys intermingle with almost soulful guitar lines. While not a “mellow” sound, this track feels almost melancholy even in the crunchiest of guitar parts. That’s the magic of Mogwai. Those clean guitar leads could’ve been played by the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan. I’d believe it if you told me it was true, defying space, time, and even death. They follow that up with the electronic blips and bleeps of “Dry Fantasy”, a coming together of ambient sounds, 80s electro pop, and Berlin School magic.
Elsewhere “Drive The Nail” has a vast feel to it, as if Mogwai set up shop in West Texas and had a window view of miles of monochrome horizon and endless sky. If Ry Cooder ever made a post-rock album, I’d imagine it would sound like this. There’s even touches of My Bloody Valentine’s wall of noise here, giving the track a healthy dose of ear-ringing bliss.
From “Pat Stains” to “Supposedly, We Were Nightmares” to album closer “It’s What I Want To Do, Mum”, Mogwai lock into both classic and new sounds. The band’s leap into film score work(Les Revenants, Atomic, Before The Flood, Kin) has made for more nuanced moments on their studio albums, as is very much evident here.
From the beginning, Mogwai flirted with the contrast between pain and pleasure in their sound. While most contemporaries in Mogwai’s musical eyesight delved deeper into the ambient soundscapes of getting lost in thought, Mogwai were equally interested in giving us a taste of Tinnitis and assaulting our senses with sheer volume. The punk/noise rock aspect was just as important as the moments of restraint. That hasn’t changed in over 25 years. As The Love Continues is proof of that.
8.1 out of 10