Promises of a memory…
Since their 1997 debut album Mogwai Young Team, Scottish post-rock outfit Mogwai have established themselves as fine purveyors of often spacey and epic compositions.
Consisting of Stuart Braithwaite (guitar, vocals), Barry Burns (guitar, piano, synthesizer, vocals), Dominic Aitchison (bass guitar) and Martin Bulloch (drums), the band have kept up a consistent profile across more than two decades of writing and producing music. That musical trajectory includes dabbling in soundtrack work, including penning the score for 2018 science fiction film Kin, demonstrating a band keen to expand their horizons.
As the Love Continues presents Mogwai’s latest studio album outing, following on from 2017’s Every Country’s Sun. The new album was actually first conceived in February 2020. However, with the COVID-19 crisis looming over the music industry at the time, the band had to contend with working remotely on the writing of the new release. “…not being able to leave the settee or go out of the house for more than one hour” commented Stuart Braithwaite, “definitely gave us more time to write music. And actually, it was good and gave us the focus to work on.”
Much of the album trades in a fuzzy, shimmering guitar vibe which includes the stark beauty of ‘Here We, Here We, Here We Go Forever’ and the crystalline dreampop appeal of ‘Dry Fantasy’. The album is mostly an instrumental affair, aside from some vocoder-treated effects here and there.
One the album’s finest moments is the staggering ‘Ritchie Sacramento’ (the only song on the album to features standard vocals via Braithwaite). An epic, heartfelt composition with a melancholic quality that references lost friends, including David Berman (Silver Jews) and Scott Hutchison (Frightened Rabbit), its power lingers long after the final note is struck.
‘Pat Stains’ is a slower affair with a reflective mood and some otherworldly saxophone elements weaved in. Meanwhile, ‘Ceiling Granny’ is a much harder, beefier effort with snarling guitar refrains and layered effects.
As the Love Continues is an album that needs several spins to really appreciate, but what emerges at the end is a stunning, emotive work that rightfully deserves the critical acclaim coming its way.
As the Love Continues is out now: https://store.mogwai.scot/collections/formats