Mr Beast
Mogwai

***1/2

For a decade now, Scottish rockers Mogwai have created brain-blitzing guitar squalls and soft-floating, cinematic instrumentals. This Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde musical arrangement has suited them well. Only Mogwai could take the cutesy, pristine sounds of a glockenspiel and use it as sonic ammunintion for a full-powered rock assault like on early single, “Summer”. Or create a song of beautiful slow burn-outs only to use it on an EP titled
No Education No Future (Fuck The Curfew).

On their fifth studio album,
Mr Beast, they’ve largely ignored the full-volumed sonic tempests, and stuck to elegant, piano-driven atmospherics. Tetsuya Fukagawa from Envy murmurs over the airy piano of “I Chose Horses”, while the hypnotic notes of “My Friend The Night” spiral and spiral into silence. Acid Food, with its crackling beats and melting pedal steel, resembles the gorgeous “I Know What You Are But What Am I?” from their preceding album, Happy Songs For Happy People.

Yet Mogwai’s appetite for noise hasn’t been entirely snuffed out, as “Glasgow Mega-Snake” and “We’re No Here” prove.

Even if it's overly familiar, this is mature territory for the band and provides some beautiful moments.

Lee Tran Lam

The Big Issue, 27 March-11 April 2006