Mogwai: As the Love Continues (Temporary Residence Ltd.) - review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, March 8th, 2021  

Mogwai

As the Love Continues

Temporary Residence Ltd.

Feb 19, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Quietly but not so quietly, Mogwai have evolved into one of the most consistent bands of the past quarter century. The tempestuous swings from deceptive tranquility to beautiful brutality that staked out the young Glasgow team’s corner of the guitar rock realm in the late ’90s belied the measured progression that would steer them through the subsequent two decades.

Nothing so far has stood in the way of Mogwai’s steady schedule of LPs, EPs, film and television scores, and other releases, so it would have been foolhardy to bet on a worldwide pandemic doing so now. As the Love Continues is the band’s tenth studio album, and was recorded at Vale Studios (Ride, The 1975) in the small Worcestershire town of Pershore in England. This was a change of plans from their initial intent to travel to America for the sessions, but they were still able to Zoom in longtime producer Dave Fridmann to oversee the proceedings, as well as work in guest appearances from Colin Stetson and Atticus Ross.

As the Love Continues begins with a tight quartet of songs that find fresh territory and reaffirm perennial faith. Lead single “Dry Fantasy” may be Love’s biggest leap. Born on an atmospheric sweep that is the aural equivalent of gazing out over a vast body of water, “Dry Fantasy” ebbs and flows, pouring out of speakers as an amorphous whole. “Here, Here We, Here We Go Forever” starts with a tonal misdirection by way of a tinny drum machine, then opens into a much wider and heavier space, albeit one that doesn’t fully leave the beat behind. “Ritchie Sacramento” is a welcome entry in Mogwai’s recent lineage of driving verse-chorus songs that includes “Teenage Exorcists,” “We’re Not Done,” and “Party in the Dark.”

“To the Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate Earth” stirs Love awake with a clip of its odd titular quote and a classic Mogwai momentum build. Familiar pillars bookend the album, with the towering “It’s What I Want to Do, Mum” bringing Love to a crashing, draining end. In between, however, the album feels more circular than linear. The band are at their loosest in the middle stretch, bleeding the spidery post-rock blues of “Drive the Nail” into the rumbling ambience of “Fuck Off Money” and the sunburst Siamese Dream riffing of “Ceiling Granny.” 

Mogwai have generally been a band of few words, so what meaning may lie in guitarist-vocalist Stuart Braithwaite’s lyrics about ghosts, memory, and home in “Ritchie Sacramento,” or the group’s deep in-jokes (the title of the dark swirling “Pat Stains” has to be a play on Pat Smear, right?), remains an ongoing mystery just beneath the surface. As the Love Continues is an album of incremental changes and monumental sounds. (www.mogwai.scot)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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