At this year’s Primavera Sound, Scottish post-rock pioneers Mogwai took the bold move to preview their then recently announced album ‘Every Country’s Sun’ in full during a secret set at the Barcelona based festival. Seemingly garnering a positive reaction by those in attendance (we all know it isn’t the easiest digesting new material live before the studio release), Mogwai appeared to be in good shape after the departure of long time member John Cummings in 2015. Now three months later and the studio release at our fingertips, is ‘Every Country’s Sun’ Mogwai’s next masterpiece or was their surprise show just a red herring?
Beginning with the collected ‘Coolverine’, a track that builds and builds into a stratospheric accumulation of sci-fi synths and impeccable execution, it’s immediately apparent that Mogwai have masterminded something special with ‘Every Country’s Sun’. ‘Party in the Dark’, which is one of the band’s most accessible tracks to date, is the perfect mixture of 2017 Slowdive and New Order at their catchiest. Easily one of the best tracks of the year, this is a route that Mogwai should definitely develop on in the future.
And what would a Mogwai album be without a bit of atmosphere eh? The Boards of Canada-esque ‘aka 47’, with its space-age synths and lonely guitars, wouldn’t go amiss in Danny Boyle’s Sunshine as it creates this image of the beautiful yet terrifying expanse of space. ‘Crossing The Road Material’ centres on a piercing lead guitar that drives the track, whilst the instrumentation swells around it until it explodes into a cinematic and spellbinding display of post-rock.
The ambient ‘Don’t Believe the Fife’, whilst it does take its time initially, the end result is so utterly rewarding and beautiful. Erupting into an unstoppable force of impenetrable noise, ‘Don’t Believe The Fife’ is nothing short of breathtaking. This wall of compact sound continues in ‘Old Poisons’. With wicked thrashing guitars, this is the most evil and menacing Mogwai get on ‘Every Country’s Sun’.
However, there are moments where certain tracks become lost in the vastness of the LP. Compared to the fuzz drenched heaven of ‘Battered at a Scramble’ and the staggering percussion of the epic ‘Brain Sweeties’, cuts such as ‘20 Size’ and ‘1000 Foot Face’ pass by with little impression. Both carefully crafted, just lacking earworm tendencies that exist elsewhere on the record.
Concluding on the triumphant title track, ‘Every Country’s Sun’ is an agglomeration of everything so far on the record. Spacious, striking and completely stunning, this is the Mogwai we know and love.
Looking back at their Primavera show, Mogwai’s decision to showcase ‘Every Country’s Sun’ in its entirety just shows how much confidence they had in the record. Vivid, compelling and unafraid of delving into new territory, Mogwai have found the ideal combination of progression and familiarity. ‘Every Country’s Sun’ also feels like an album that the world needs right now, an escapism from ever-present and inescapable vulgarity of reality.
Words: Liam Egan
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