Album: Every Country's Sun
Label: Rock Action
Not so much bitter- as brutal-sweet, Mogwai have perfected a new set of melodies soft and furious to power, propel and gently decorate their fiercely unforgiving sonic excursions. With no sign of compromising this aural vision as they engage with middle age, the Glaswegian post-rockers' new set comes straight out of the top drawer.
Long regarded as the instrumental-toting antidote to the instant gratification hegemony of Oasis and their ilk, Mogwai have confused and confounded as much as they have inspired and fired and Every Country's Sun fits perfectly in their canon. The opening strains of Coolverine shift us away from the neon synth clash of their previous outing, Rave Tapes, setting up an altogether grander delivery. This could (and should) fill stadiums, valleys even, with swirling melodic shifts, euphoric builds and, in places, battering rhythmic rushes - with its searing cacophony, Battered At a Scramble sounds like the Mogwai of popular imagination, as does Old Poisons, if anything with even greater majesty.
On the other hand, they've never sounded sweeter than on Party in the Dark the album's sole dalliance with a proper vocal, which speaks of all your favourite happy-sad guitar-dance anthems while sounding nothing like any of them. More familiar perhaps are the sparse soundscapes of aka 47 and the reach-for-the-sky exertions of Don't Believe the Fife or Crossing the Road Material.
Every Country's Sun reunites Mogwai with producer Dave Fridmann for the first time in 16 years and proves to be a sound move as he transcends expectation with new layers of intensity.