Posted by: will | March 6, 2006



Mogwai "Mr. Beast" (Matador)

Mr. Beast marks Mogwai's return to duty. It's hard to believe this is the band's fifth album. Following up what I believe to be the some of the band's strongest works, Rock Action and Happy Songs For Happy People, is definitely not an easy task. The thing that I find so enthralling about Mogwai is how they make instrumental music sound so natural and warm and simply inviting. I find so many instrumental bands to be entirely too mechanical and cold. You never get that feeling with Mogwai. Their arrangements and textures are so free-flowing and full of vitality. Everything is where it should be. When vocals are added it does not hinder the music one bit, but seems to be used like just another instrument in Mogwai's extensive orchestra. Mogwai is a band that knows exactly what they want and they know exactly how to get there.

Mogwai's last album, Happy Songs For Happy People, was by far the band's most subdued affair. It's nice to see that Mr. Beast marks the return of some of the guitar ragers that the band originally became known for. Overall, the album has a wonderful mixture of tempo between songs. The three songs that showcase vocals on Mr. Beast are surprisingly the most moving of the album. "Acid Flood" shows off the first vocals on the album and the song ends on some truly gorgeous pedal steel guitar licks. The following track "Travel Is Dangerous" is probably my favorite on the record. Beautifully understated vocals lie below the surface as the band creates a maelstrom of sound over them. On "I Choose Horses" former Envy member Tetsuya Fukagawa appears on vocals doing a rather haunting spoken word piece over Mogwai's musical backdrop.

This band never ceases to amaze me. The fact that Mogwai continues to make (mainly) instrumental music that still sounds new and relevant with each album is such an incredible feat. Mogwai keeps on doing it though. They are pioneers of the this genre and they still continue to do it better than the rest.

RIYL: Explosions In The Sky, Slint, Tortoise

Listen: Mogwai – Folk Death 95 (mp3)


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