Rock Action Records/Temporary Residence Limited
As The Love Continues
Now ten albums in and over 25 years as a functioning band, Mogwai have been immune to trends and changes in the zeitgeist since their inception. This attitude has served them well, as seemingly their approach to making music is to not really discuss or talk about it as a collective. By their own admission, they’re a group of no significant meaning, which isn’t to say they’re not an important band – they are indeed a remarkable band that have navigated nearly three decades of musical landscape changes, sound tracked films and been prickly and combative to boot.
More so, their music is open to interpretation depending on the listener’s mood and their surroundings, it becomes malleable to whatever climate it finds itself in. A certain element of flexibility was needed to create their latest LP ‘As The Love Continues’; originally due to be recorded in America but soon derailed by Covid-19’s rampage across the globe, the Scottish troop decamped to Worcestershire, UK, but with producer Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, Interpol, MGMT) handling his duties remotely. See, Zoom just isn’t for quizzes with your family on a Saturday night.
With the world still largely in lockdown, Mogwai are more than aware they’ll not be able perform the album for some time. De facto band-leader Stuart Braithwaite hopes ‘As The Love Continues’ helps provide some escape from the past year’s and even today’s tumultuousness “unless you are somewhere really amazing and then why are you listening to some weird music like this?” states Braithwaite with a trademark dry sense of humour.
Mogwai have been the masters of straddling delicate subtly and all out, massive walls of sound since the mid-nineties and ‘As The Love Continues’ carries on this rich vein of sonic expression. Songs tend to commence with the smallest kernel of sound – a glimmer, a faint thud before multi-facets begin to coalesce to form an enormous barrage of unrelenting noise. Cinematic is how best to describe ‘As The Love Continues’ but this doesn’t just mean swooning elegance like on ‘Midnight Flit’; when the Glaswegians adopt sci-fi noises and the gradual unfurl of sound before ‘Drive The Nail’ erupts, the sense of tension and then release could easily accompany a pivotal moment in any motion picture. ‘Dry Fantasy’ illustrates a flickering calm, one that chirps and ripples with a celestial hue. The serenity paints the picture of a sterile environment, like a laboratory, where man and machine live in harmony. On the other side of the spectrum is ‘Ceiling Granny’s gnarled guitar slashes and liberal use of caustic noise. The same can be said for the final moments of closing track ‘It’s What I Want To Do, Mum’. ‘Supposedly, We Were Nightmares’ marries the record’s penchant for the ethereal with its other love for bombast, for a track that takes on an intergalactic sparkle. For a song called ‘Fuck Off Money’, you’d expect something down ‘n’ dirty but after a touch of murmured electronics and delicate low-end hums the track expands to something sophisticated and full of grace.
Recorded during the pandemic, that’s still omnipresent today, ‘As The Love Continues’, represents the pendulum swing of emotions we’re all feeling. From the occasional calm and comfort of being at home and protected, to the anxiety and worry of a life threatening disease killing over two million people in just over a year. Mogwai have offered up a soundtrack for these times and it’s up to you, what story you want it to tell.