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Mogwai - Mr Beast

Mogwai, Mr Beast

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE epic sound of Mogwai is given another stirring workout on Mr Beast, the fifth studio album from the Glasgow-based outfit.

Having adopted a softer sound and more varied instrumentation on albums like Rock Action, Mr Beast finds them returning to more expansive rock, providing some gutsy moments to offset the inevitable calm.

Ironically, it’s on a mellow note that the album sets things in motion with the beautiful Auto Rock, a track that is built around a melancholy central piano note that gradually becomes engulfed by a swell of fiesty guitars and pummelling drum beats.

The slow-building, cinematic style is typical of what to expect from Mogwai in general and it’s pleasing to be able to report that the band has lost none of its ability to take the breath away.

From the slow-building ease of Auto Rock listeners are then engulfed in the powerful guitars of Glasgow Mega-Snake, a rousing orgy of power riffs that grow increasingly more powerful before stopping dead in the tracks for the cut-off finish.

Acid Food drops in some husky, whispered vocals for the first time, as well as a drum machine beat and some pedal-steel guitar that gives it a warm, relaxed country gospel glow.

A notable feature of Mr Beast is the way in which it offsets its inspiring guitar explosions with quieter, more dream-like piano passages that lend the long-player a sense of poignancy.

Performed by keyboardist, guitarist and vocalist Barry Burns, they are beautifully realised and almost always bittersweet – sad but inspiring, such as Team Handed.

Former single, Friend Of The Night seems tailor-made for the frosty, snowy weather we’re currently experiencing, containing an intensity about it that sparkles.

While I Chose Horses is an achingly poignant masterclass in restraint that features guest vocals from Tetsuya Fukagawa, of Japanese hardcore band Envy.

Final track We’re No Hear ends things in explosive fashion amid a whirlwind of emotive guitars and crashing drums.

It helps to conclude another excellent chapter in the Mogwai experience that really ought not to be missed. Roll on their next work – the soundtrack for a film about French footballing genius, Zinedine Zidane.

Track listing:

  1. Auto Rock
  2. Glasgow Mega-Snake
  3. Acid Food
  4. Travel Is Dangerous
  5. Team Handed
  6. Friend Of The Night
  7. Emergency Trap
  8. Folk Death 95
  9. I Chose Horses
  10. We’re No Here