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It will be interesting to see where history places Mogwai in the pantheon of rock culture, but one thing I’m sure of is that they will occupy a shelf all on their own. Their latest album ‘Mr Beast’ continues along the strange path Mogwai have set for themselves, a unique one far removed from their fickle peers and hyped bands like the Arctic Monkeys. Mogwai set their own agenda and it is one of constant progression (albeit a slow one).
‘Mr Beast’ features plenty of haunting piano and guitar throughout as well as the assaulting sonic distortion that Mogwai are known for. Despite these trademarks, it still has a sound all its own. What is noticeably absent is the long 8 – 10 minute Mogwai song that characterises a Mogwai album and the first few listens you can clearly tell where the band chose to pull back. The opener ‘Auto Rock’ is a perfect example as it seems to be building to something and then just stops. This disappointment is overcome by the presence of half a dozen fantastic songs – the ultra distorted ‘Glasgow Mega Snake’ , ‘Acid Food’, ‘Friend of the Night’ , ‘Folk Death 95’ and my personal favourite ‘Travel is Dangerous’.
I’m not sure what it is about ‘Travel is Dangerous’ that i like so much. The winding guitars, distinct Scottish vocals, distorted emotional chorus all make it a really intense listening experience, but I still can’t put my finger on who or what this song reminds me of. Help me out here, listen to the song below. Does it sound like another Mogwai song I can’t put my finger on? My Bloody Valentine? The soundtrack to a slow motion college American Football game complete with ultra slow motion cheerleaders and crowd celebrations as the camera pans by them. OK that last one may just be me, but try and help me out here!