After releasing one of their most successful and popular albums in 2003, Mogwai return with their fifth studio album, Mr Beast
. Proving that they had an ear for beauty and melody on Happy Songs For Happy People
, Mr Beast
takes those ideas further.
Dominic Aitchison - Guitar, Bass
Stuart Braithwaite - Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion
Martin Bulloch - Drums
Barry Burns - Guitar
John Cummings - Guitar, Piano
Though Mogwai's reputation will probably always be that of the loud blasts of noise and enormous dynamics that dominated their earlier records, it's clear that with Happy Songs For Happy People
and now Mr Beast
, Mogwai have become so much more. It would seem that after their sophomore release of Come On Die Young
, Mogwai gradually started discovering melody and more beautiful ideas. By the time Mogwai released Happy Songs For Happy People
, their songs were extremely varied and eclectic. Not only this, but Happy Songs For Happy People
was arguably Mogwai's best record since Young Team
. In many people's eyes, it was their best record yet.
For fans of the more recent Mogwai records, Mr Beast
may well be the best Mogwai record yet. Although they had been hinting at it for a while, on Mr Beast
completely does away with the epics that Mogwai have been praised for. There are no songs on the record that hit the 6 minute mark, giving each track a snappy and more accessible feel. The album's single is, interestingly enough, the second longest track on the album at 5:30. Although some of the songs sound like they could do with an extra 3 or 4 minutes (album opener "Auto Rock" being an great example), the length doesn't detract from the songs in the slightest. In fact, it makes them that much more special.
As mentioned earlier, the songs are an eclectic mix of sounds, styles, moods and feels. Like the band's last record, the majority of the tracks have a very uplifting mood. In this case, the album's strongest songs tend to be the more uplifting tracks. Like previous records, Mr Beast
includes a handful of tracks with vocals. Two tracks have vocals courtesy of the band while "I Chose Horses" sees Tetsuya Fukagawa of Envy reciting a spoken word part.
Instrumentally, Mogwai are at their finest. Mr Beast
is a much more piano dominated record than previous efforts and this is well to Mogwai's advantage. The electronics and programming that made a welcome appearance on Happy Songs For Happy People
are in full swing on Mr Beast
. While Mogwai make interesting use of electronics throughout the record, their music is never dominated by it. Overall, Mr Beast
takes a much more conventional rock oriented approach to Mogwai's music. This is most prevailent on "Travel is Dangerous", which is one of the album's most conventional and beautiful songs. Despite the eclectic and melodic nature of Mr Beast
, the noisy heaviness that Mogwai are known for makes many welcome appearances on this record. "Glasgow Mega-Snake" has some particularly noisy moments with explosions of feedback while album closer "We're No Here" is so heavy that it could be an Isis or Pelican song.
In comparison to Mogwai's earlier records, Mr Beast
is a logical progression and a welcome addition to their catalogue. For fans of Rock Action
and Happy Songs For Happy People
, this record is everything that anyone could hope for. For those new to Mogwai, this is as good a time and place to start as any. For anyone and everyone else, Mr Beast
just might be the best album Mogwai has made yet.
Mogwai have advanced their sound without forgetting their roots
Perfect album length
Fans might find the short songs dissapointing
While there are no dud tracks, some are weaker than others
Extensive use of piano may be offputting
Travel is Dangerous
We're No Here
FINAL RATING: 4/5