Mogwai are a busy band. Many acts nearing the end of their third decade would be forgiven for slowing their pace, for being selective in their output, and even for running out of ideas. Not Mogwai. This will be their fourth studio album in the last 10 years – a decade which has also seen them release three EPs, two live albums, a lovingly compiled six LP best-of, one remix album, and five original scores – albums which themselves have been critically acclaimed in their own right.
Originally set to be recorded in the US, the pandemic of 2020 saw the band relocate to the Worcestershire countryside, while producer Dave Fridmann worked remotely from across the Atlantic. An unusual setup, in an unusual year, but the results are startlingly focussed; ‘As The Love Continues’ sees Mogwai cover diverse sonic ground, drawing from many of their most interesting and successful creative peaks from previous albums.
Opening track ‘To The Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate Earth’ is as huge as they've ever sounded; taking a simple, dramatic melody and gradually adding layers upon layers of shimmering clamour, while ‘Dry Fantasy’ adds a glorious analogue synth lead to an albeit more tentative backing track. ‘Fuck Off Money’ is vast – distorted cymbals slowly and malevolentally overpowering the track in five and a half minutes of blissful noise – while ‘Midnight Flit’, featuring contributions from Nine Inch Nails' Atticus Ross, is a superbly crafted synthetic journey, built on a solid rhythmic structure but beatufully adorned with keys and pizzicatto strings. ‘Ceiling Granny’, possibly the best titled track of the year, isn't post-rock – it's ROCK, in capital letters – bringing to mind Scottish peers Teenage Fanclub and Idlewild more than Slint or Explosions In The Sky.
Penultimate track ‘Supposedly, We Were Nightmares’ recalls the less Krauty moments of sometime label-mates The Phantom Band, before the perfectly titled ‘It's What I Want To Do, Mum’ sounds exactly like a band who have been together since their teens, and are still creating music they are excited and energised by.
Over their 25 years as a band, Mogwai have grown self-assured in both their abilities and their limitations, and while some bands struggle to fit all their influences into a distinct whole, Mogwai confidently defy post-rock conventions and stick to what they're good at; taking simple melodies and rhythms and garnishing them with an epic grandiosity.
‘As The Love Continues’ is Mogwai at their best, and is possibly their most consistent record since 2006's ‘Mr Beast’. Their mums should be proud.
Dig This? Dig Deeper: Explosions In The Sky, Sigur Ros, Slint
Words: David Weaver
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