Review Summary: I wouldn’t place it up there with their best though...
As Mogwai ascend to veteran act status, they are more productive than ever. Working on soundtracks for TV series, documentaries or music, provided a natural expansion for their music. For a band that pioneered the post rock genre, the Scottish quartet makes sure they don’t stagnate. Unsurprisingly, As the Love Continues
keeps inserting new sonic elements into the mix. Wandering down the synthesizer assisted paths, the group managed to create a rather glossy and at times uplifting odyssey. The pop sensibilities that became more prominent during the past decade shine here as well. Several familiar sounds and features appear along the way, yet they are filtered through the current production and style.
The side projects definitely expanded Mogwai's horizons in terms of dynamics, styles and structures. Their sonic palette was gradually enlarged by incorporating various electronic bits and scaling down on the guitar distortion. A prime example is ‘To the Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate Earth’, which starts this journey in a very cinematic way, building on lush piano and guitar leads. The pulsing drum plays steadily until everyone kicks into an explosive second half. The epic keys and low bass chords beautifully enhance the entire segment. ‘Here We, Here We, Here We Go Forever’ and ‘Dry Fantasy’ create a rather glistening atmosphere for the band, the former toying with electronic beats and talk box-like guitars. The latter gives off a sci-fi vibe with its wavy layers of synths and glitches around them. The song gently unfolds into a classic Mogwai ditty, but everyone leaves considerable room for each instrument to be clearly audible. As usual, the overall result is emphasized instead of just one certain instrument. Meanwhile, ‘Ceiling Granny’ offers some muscle to As the Love Continues
, delivering a round of chunky, distorted riffs. Though not as moody as ‘Batcat’ or ‘Glasgow Mega Snake’, the track is invigorating.
During the second half, ‘Pat Stains’ shares a nice drum groove and a powerful low end during its louder portions, whereas ‘Midnight Flit’ grows into a lovely, string-assisted number. I love how easily the band crafts a solid foundation for their tunes with sparse components. This barely audible softness that graced mainly their early works still works wonders. Towards the end, ‘Supposedly, We Were Nightmares’ brings back some of that Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
pop rock energy, before ‘It’s What I Want to Do, Mum’ closes the record on a high note. The calm bass and guitar notes pave the way for discreet, ethereal keyboards until, inevitably, everything bursts for the grandiose finale. I believe this cut harkens back to old school Mogwai most from all here.
Overall, As the Love Continues
ends up as one solid album that does a great job blending the Mogwai we are accustomed to into a friendlier direction. I wouldn’t place it up there with the best though. While the production is crystal clear and the guys used most of their sonic arsenal to shape the songs, a fair number of them don’t really stand out. Even with all the pop elements included, the LP actually unfolds slower than expected. There are few immediate moments, but to be honest, the main issue is that one third of the record feels as if the band is running on auto pilot.