25 years. That’s how long Mogwai have quietly (and loudly) been doling out guitar-heavy detonation at the stamp of a Stuart Braithwaite overdrive pedal. After all that time, there’s undoubtedly a method to Mogwai, but the beautiful noise they’ve made over the years has only stood because of their dedication to reimagining the potential of sheer volume and plunging walls of noise.
As The Love Continues has all of their hallmarks (the plaintive lulls, the booming peaks, the whirling anger) but as tried-and-trusted as those structures are, there are a few unexpected subtleties that make Mogwai’s tenth album a surprising listen.
‘Pat Stains’ and ‘Drive The Nail’ provide the flashes of the calm-to-crashing rage that made 2017’s Every Country’s Sun feel so tense and brash. ‘Fuck Off Money’ and ‘It’s What I Want To Do, Mum’ go deep to refresh the tumbling, vocoded melancholy of the band’s Happy Songs for Happy People era, and ‘Midnight Flit’ erupts into a sweeping crescendo of guitar and orchestra that clashes, soars and plummets to blockbuster effect. But it’s the chiming delicateness of lead single ‘Dry Fantasy’ that really hits home. Dreamy and melodic, it drifts like the opening bars of an M83 opus, switching out the power chords for raining synth and chunky reverb that’s drizzled on deliciously thick.
It’s Mogwai as you’ve always heard them, but also as you’ve never heard them before. Three decades in, and their evolutionary guitarmageddon still continues to surprise.