Scotland - Full Moon 115 - 02/13/06
Mr. Beast is Mogwai's fifth studio album, and I must admit I've been off the Mogwai wagon for a while. Their debut
back in 1997 blew me away and got me quite addicted. Their follow up, Come on Die Young (1999), didn't quite catch me, I thought the production (Dave
Fridmann) was a bit flat and dull. Then I had a Mogwai-break. Maybe also to recover my hearing senses, after Mogwai messed up my tinnitus at their very LOUD
show in Oslo in early/mid 99.
Mr. Beast isn't the trademark Mogwai whispering-roaring-whispering-roaring (the quiet/loud/quiet/loud formula sort of became a cliché, according
to guitarist/vocalist Stuart Braithwaite) guitar-noise rock-action they used to be. They've submerged more into Erik Satie vs. slow-metal, with spices from
the doomy and melancholic side. Of course the sudden whirlpool guitar flow is intact, and they still balance fragility with start/stop rage with perfect control.
And, yes, they still can be LOUD. The delicate, piano-driven "Auto Rock" opens, with, uh, piano and a slow-building fundament of thumping drums and bass, and
bubbling synths. Sort of silence before a storm coming. And "Glasgow Mega-Snake" brings a medium storm, with its massive, sort of classic Mogwai noise-riff
cascades. Mogwai's music is to be played loud. "Acid Food" takes everything down, sort of into somewhere in electro-folk-country land. Nice. Next moment
they're heading back into gloom-gazing, with the catchy "Travel Is Dangerous". The sound of danger, but in a friendly way.
Mr. Beast was recorded at home, in their own Castle Of Doom(!) studio in Glasgow, with Tony Doogan (who engineered their third, Rock Action,
and produced their last, Happy Songs...). They seem to cooperate quite well together. "Friend Of The Night" is another piano-dominated sugar pill, with a
thin, crisp fuzz-coat. Many of the songs are arranged or appear somewhat like little symphonies. Post-teenage symphonies to doom? And they work quite well.
Mogwai can be both delicate and monumental within seconds. They noise elegantly, and create majestic melodies and a massive sound. Just check out the final
pair of songs, "I Chose Horses" and "We're No Here", and you can feel Mogwai under your skin, in your veins. Enjoy beauty and Mr. Beast. Maybe my ears are
ready for another live dose of cosmic Mogwai rock action again soon?
Copyright © 2006 Håvard Oppøyen