Scotland’s Mogwai are one of those bands that have been on the periphery of my vision (or hearing?) for many years, receiving strong critical acclaim and amassing a huge and dedicated following. I just haven’t had room on my brimming musical plate to encompass them, and to be honest the idea of a (mostly) instrumental band did not persuade me to explore further. My mistake. This changed when I saw them live at Hobart’s Dark Mofo festival in June this year and reviewed for Backseat Mafia when I was mesmerised by their brilliant performance and blasting anthemic sounds.
Their latest album, “Every Country’s Sun”, was released on 1 September and , for me, induces the same sense of awe I felt when I saw them live. The album is a vast endless canvas painted with crescending layers of sheer beauty: songs that blast you with vaulting, ambitious waves of stunning sound nestled with contemplative reveries that slowly and softly envelop you. The closest they come to a standard indie rock song with vocals – “Party in the Dark” – is a perfect indie rock anthem that sits them alongside anything released by The Stone Roses, Oasis or The Charlatans. Another song with vocals, “1000 Foot Face” has a dream-like psychedelic vibe reminiscent of the best of anything produced by Sigur Ros. Indeed, their instrumentals are of the pulsating and emotive levels of Sigur Ros with more of a distorted guitar-driven spine.
First single off the album was “Coolverine”, providing a fantastic example of the atmosphere, emotion and melody that can be evinced through an instrumental by this band:
This is a mesmerising album that is nuanced and subtle at times, and brutally pulsating at other times, but consistently melodic and engaging. You can order the album through the band’s website here as a boxset, CD or LP.
The title of the album was taken from a childhood misconception that every country had its own individual sun. The album certainly is a bright shining firmament on the musical landscape.
Mogwai are currently touring in Europe and the US: make sure you go and see them. Details can be found here.