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Mogwai - As The Love Continues (Album Review)

Monday, 22 February 2021 Written by Matt Mills

Photo: Antony Crook

In the biography that comes with ‘As the Love Continues’ comedian Robin Ince writes, “Mogwai are a band of no significant meaning.” And, while that may seem like a jab, it’s hard to argue with him.

As much as the post-rock quartet’s name may suggest a love for Gremlins, it only stuck because they “meant to change it, but never got around to it.” Their in-joke album titles have ranged from ‘Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will’ to ‘The Hawk Is Howling’. Plus, their luminescent compositions largely have no lyrics to convey any messaging.

As cliched an observation as it might be, this agendaless force let their music do the talking—and what a story it has to tell. ‘As the Love Continues’ is an example of genre literacy that, without adding anything revolutionary to the post-rock playbook, stands as a fine selection of enveloping lullabies.

After To the Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate Earth commences with the slurred ramblings of Blanck Mass’s Benjamin John Powers, it sets a groundwork of evocative and richly textured sweetness.

Cymbals, keys and clean guitars delicately dance together before, midway through, a reverberating synthesizer accentuates the main melody. The subsequent Here We, Here We, Here We Go Forever gradually adds its soulful guitar notes over a robotic electro beat in the same swelling vein.

The rest of the album adheres to that precedent, staying true to the escalation and crescendos of archetypical post-rock while also finding new angles with which to flaunt that dynamic. Ceiling Granny may up the urgency to hard rock levels, Ritchie Sacramento may add vocals and Midnight Flit may echo with classical and space rock, but the songs are all permutations on the same flowing idea.

As a result, this is stubbornly a genre album. Yet, a lot is still achieved within that framework, with  ‘As the Love Continues’ proving very easy to get lost in without ever once feeling monotonous or uninspired. Mogwai might have nothing worthwhile to say outside of the notes emanating from their instruments, but lyrical vacuity has rarely sounded as compelling as it does here.


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