Every Country's Sun
After more than twenty years into a music 'career', you would expect most bands to reach a comfortable cstage where, although they're fully adept at what they do, they have lost that alluring, exciting thing that made them so special in the first place.
Mogwai are not like most bands.
Instead, Mogwai have created their own sonic template. Recent soundtrack work (sexy French zombie drama Les Reventants and the documentary about nuclear panic Atomic), may suggest a new sense of refinement of the band's sound. Wrong.
Every Country's Sun is their first album without long time guitarist John Cummings. Wether or not this accounts for the heavier emphasis on drums and keyboards may be a moot point. Coolverine and Brain Sweeties have similar cinematic textures to their compositions for Atomic, the former has wavering synths, arpeggiated guitars and those driving, pounding drums. The latter adds piano and thudding bass into the pot. They are both dramatically widescreen tracks.
The rousing Crossing the Road Material fuzzes with Frippish guitars whist the wintry 1000 Foot Face combines gentle vocal harmonies with unsettling synths reminscent of New Order's
Elegia. It's wonderfully disturbing.
Anyone still pining for the distorting abrasiveness of old will delight in the closing part of 'Every Country's Sun', midway through Don't Believe The Fyfe, the gentle, echoing keyboards are dispensed with and the track explodes into visceral, angry guitars. The cocophonous Battered at a Scramble and Old Poisons continue the pace, whilst the title track, which closes the album, rises from a slow and sinister introduction to a shrieking, howling crescendo.
Every Country's Sun proves again that although Mogwai may have recenly turned their hand to scoring music for film and TV, their real strength lies in soundtracking their own idiosyncratic worldview. Occasionally beautiful and frequently disturbing, long may their 'career' continue.
Jason Lewis is a Birmingham based music, movie and arts obsessive. Jason's encyclopedic knowledge of 80s/90s Arts films is a debt to his embedded status in the Triangle Arts Centre trenches back then.