Mogwai

Every Country's Sun

Written by: LL on 13/10/2017 18:11:08

For anyone into post-rock, the Scottish band Mogwai should be a familiar name. They continually rank as one of the very best in the genre, creating amazing soundscapes often combined with strong riffs or melodies that especially sound mindblowing live. Their ninth studio album (not counting various soundtrack albums and EP's) "Every Country's Sun" continues that tradition although it is not without its problems. As opposed to their incredibly strong eighth album "Rave Tapes" with its heavily electronic parts, the band is back to a more guitar-focused and atmospheric sound.

Overall the album moves between high points in its strong opening tracks and then through a slump before picking up the pace again through the last four tracks. The first track "Coolverine" builds up slowly while maintaining the same echoing and circling movement throughout that consists of a series of three upwards moving notes and chords. It's instrumental and repetitive but also catchy, dreamy and optimistic, exactly one of the kinds of songs Mogwai does best. Next track "Party in the Dark" is one of two songs on the album featuring a rare occurrence of vocals in Mogwai's music (the other one being "1000 Foot Face") and it is shaped as a more traditional song that moves through a verse-chorus style. It stands out through that alone but it also has a nice melody and a great combination of post-rock elements with the more usual song-writing.

As the third track, "Brain Sweeties" has some very recognizable piano parts and a slow groove that is very appealing. The kind of 'standard' songwriting of post-rock that adds layers and intensity to tracks slowly is present here but the song feels like its going round and round in a mood that was struck from the beginning without developing much further. This is a thing that stays true for the entire middle section of the album as the coming songs have main riffs and guitar patterns that either sound like random noisy jams as on "Crossing the Road Material" or just seem too nondescript as on "20 Size". It's impossible to say that there aren't distinct atmospheres in each of the songs that one can delve into - on the contrary the sound mix of the entire album makes everything sound very lush and inviting - but they each present themselves more as constant soundscapes than as purposefully developing tracks.

This kind of slump, however, is luckily broken with the excellent "Don't Believe the Fife". Initially, it seems to follow the same pattern as the previous songs but its four minutes of calm open chords that make you expect something is coming finally break through to a much heavier, reverb-laden sound to underscore the continuation of the clearly ringing main riff from before. With that, we're shaken back to life from the sleepy trance-state we have been lulled into and the album then brings us two tracks with noisy guitar textures in focus, the most striking (and loud!) of which is the second one, "Old Poisons", that will blow anyone away live with its intensity I'm sure. Finally, the title track "Every Country's Sun" utilizes the suddenly introduced guitar loudness in the album to give us a proper post-rock anthem that builds majestically over a longwinded main melody and crashing cymbals and ends up as one of the most memorable tracks of the album next to the opener "Coolverine".

In summary, then, there are some strong tracks on this record but the combination of melody and atmosphere that I found so amazing on the entirety of "Rave Tapes" is not shaped in the same way here at all. The focus of "Every Country's Sun" as an album is more on soundscapes and specific moods in a way that recalls bands like This Will Destroy You and 65daysofstatic and even though to me it varies in quality through its duration, it's worth checking out for any post-rock interested person out there.

7

Download: Coolverine, Every Country's Sun, Don't Believe the Fife, Party in the Dark
For The Fans Of: This Will Destroy You, 65daysofstatic, Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Listen: facebook.com/mogwai

Release date 01.09.2017
Rock Action Records

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