Ah Mogwai, Scotland's instrumental rock legends continue to forge ahead with new material. Just last year the band put out the beautiful Atomic: A Soundtrack By Mogwai, a reworking of their soundtrack to the documentary Atomic, Living In Dread And Promise. Now they're back in 2017 with a whole new studio album, the contemplative Every Country's Sun.
Every Country's Sun sees Mogwai once again team up with producer Dave Fridmann, probably best known for his work with The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev. Fridmann worked with Mogawai on 1999's Come On Die Young and 2001's Rock Action and is back behind the boards almost 16 years later. The eleven tracks that make up the new album show a more subdued Mogwai, starting with the opener, and best track, "Coolverine". This is one of the more classically structured songs here, with a haunting guitar melody carrying it along and Martin Bulloch's stellar drum work standing out. By far the loveliest piece on this collection. And for the record, does anyone come up with better song titles than this band?
Mogwai have always been known primarily as an instrumental band but vocals do turn up on occasion as they do twice this time on rocker "Party In The Dark" and the gentle ballad "1000 Foot Face". Just because I describe this as a more subdued affair, don't be fooled in thinking Stuart Braithwaite and Dominic Aitchison have toned down their guitar work. They let loose on another of the album's highlights "Crossing The Road Material", the aptly titled "Battered At A Scramble" and the closing title cut in particular. Also not to be missed is "Don't Believe The Fife" which builds up over four atmospheric minutes of Barry Burns' synth work before guitars and drums kick in to batter you in the final two minutes. There are masters at work here, few do this type of music better. All hail Mogwai.
Favorite tracks: "Coolverine", "Crossing The Road Material", "Party In The Dark", "Don't Believe The Fife"
Every Country's Sun was released September 8th, 2017 on the Temporary Residence Limited label in the U.S.