In Review: Mogwai - As The Love Continues
Mogwai, one of rock’s hardest working bands, seem to have quietened off a little in the last few years. As The Love Continues marks their first album in four years (excluding soundtracks), whereas up until 2015 they were releasing one full-length a year consistently. Although they share similar compositions, none of their albums have ever sounded the same, and neither has anyone else ever really begun to sound like them.
They've gone from something not quite like anything else in the late nineties, to becoming stalwarts of post-rock, carrying a dedicated fan base with a cult-like following. Their work has always relied on a loudness for the creation of vast soundscapes (possibly why they've taken to composing film scores) which allows them to control small, tender moments within the tracks. It is this loud and quiet that dynamic that typifies their latest (and chart-topping) album.
It feels strange to talk about lyrics for a band like Mogwai, whose work is heavily instrumental except for the odd track or archival pieces. Their lack of vocals is perhaps what makes their lyrics somewhat more special - they seem to catch you off-guard because of their rarity, but also they only seem to dedicate themselves to vocals when they do have something to say. In many ways, for want of a better term, minimalism is what sets them apart. They have never conformed to ‘normal’ songwriting, and anything they do seems to be for the better of the work itself. As The Love Continues probably has one of their most vocal singles to date, in 'Ritchie Sacramento', (the second single released from the album) a sign of the band's lofty ability, and intuitive their writing still seems.
As The Love Continues is throughout, a stunning album. It very much carries the energy they were beginning to form in their last album (sans soundtracks) Every Country’s Sun. They have chiselled away in forming their particular sound and will continue to sculpt it. As good as it is, however, it is hard to say that it will be special within their vast repertoire in the eyes of their aforementioned fan base. It begs the question of whether it reaches the dizzying heights of Young Team or Come On Die Young, but perhaps that kind of special can only be formed on sticky, sweaty small venue dance floors as opposed to arenas and the spaces they now occupy, pandemic notwithstanding.
As The Love Continues is out now via Rock Action Records.