March 8, 2021 Mogwai – The Love Continues (Album Review)
Mogwai fans, get ready to vacate Earth! Four years since the Scottish Post-Rock band’s last record, Every Country’s Sun, Mogwai is back to take listeners on another journey accompanied by dynamic soundscapes. Released on February 19, 2021 via Temporary Residence Ltd. / Rock Action Records, The Love Continues marks Mogwai’s tenth studio album.
Fans should expect much of the same sound, from lofty guitars and funky synth to a mix of the white noise they admire from the Glasgow band. However, first-time listeners should be aware that there are close to no lyrics to be found, with the exception of track four, “Ritchie Sacramento.” The 11 song record features collaborations with Saxophonist Colin Stetson along with Nine Inch Nails’ Atticus Ross. A blend of energizing synthesizers, shifting distortion, and celestial reverb keeps listeners stimulated even when there are no lyrics present. Mogwai has been in the game long enough (26 years to be exact) to prove they do not need to rely on lyrics to get their vision across.
Beginning the cosmic journey and setting the album’s tone, opener “To The Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate Earth” welcomes listeners with atmospheric low-fi beats building in intensity before becoming distorted then coming to an end. Next, “Here We, Here We, Here We Go Forever” stimulates the listener with synth that could compare to an early ’80s video game. Exciting, upbeat, and fun, this track begs for your undivided attention.
Easily the most soundtrack-worthy song is “Dry Fantasy,” also one of the two singles. “Ritchie Sacramento” is the other single, and this is the only song on the album with actual lyrics. Its ambient and airy feel makes for easy listening, which is a much different vibe than what you get with “Ceiling Granny,” jam-packed with nostalgic backyard high school party vibes, distorted guitar riffs, and crashing bright cymbals.
Keeping with the theme of animated, colorful songs, “Midnight Flit” is a kaleidoscope of sounds. Atticus Ross delivers a haunting string arrangement with alternating tempos, which can be almost anxiety-inducing, until the second part of the song when it starts to spiral down, slowing the music to only the sound of light piano and violin plucking.
Sadly “Pat Stains” should be a highlight of the album, instead teasing listeners as the music overpowers and drowns-out the beautiful saxophone played by Colin Stetson. However, the saxophone adds depth, but hearing echoes far off in the background keeps listeners desiring more. Lastly, final track “It’s What I Want To Do, Mum” not only puts the album to bed, it will also put listeners to sleep too; whether it be from its 7-minute and 23-second runtime or its lifeless bassline.
The Love Continues is one hell of a ride: tranquil with melodically chaotic soundscapes, but with lengthy drawn-out bass lines and brain-scrambling white noise that is not for everyone. Perhaps the biggest bummer of all is the disappointing song collaboration with Colin Stensen, which seems like a missed opportunity for greatness. For this, Cryptic Rock gives The Love Continues 3.5 out of 5 stars.