For the longest time regarded as a musical staple and cultural essence of Scotland, Glaswegian quartet Mogwai have truly transcended to levels of adulation, commercial success and critical acclaim that even they had never encountered before this their twelfth record.
As The Love Continues is everything we have come to expect from Mogwai, except it is as daring in its charm and execution as it is its comforting, recognisable and distinguishable blasts of distorted homely eclectic musical blasts of thudding excellence.
Quite simply, the Glaswegian quartet have reached a new level of competence and confidence in each showcased composition within this their first ever chart topping record.
Lead single ‘Dry Fantasy’ hollers back to the eerie ambient atmospheric vibes found on 2011s Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will while the hilariously named ‘Ritchie Sacremento’ bursts into a fuzzy wall of jangly guitars and harmonious backdrops of luscious seeping vocals reminiscent of indie darlings Interpol and The Cure.
‘Drive the Nail’ and the aptly titled ‘Ceiling Granny’ produce quirky and treacherously heavy moments that somehow remain calm and composed, a juxtaposition of madness with the latter even managing to sound like something Billy Corgan would be proud of.
Throughout these eleven tracks there is a firm expectancy for a certain theme of resentment or dilution of hope to take hold of proceedings, it never quite happens, though.
Instead the true consistency of As The Love Continues is found not in its explored themes of despair, guilt, hope, solitude, desolation and ecstasy, but in its quite superb instrumental execution – there is a real sense of darkly humoured innocence and pessimistically honed nostalgia within the nucleus of this record to be found on the ground layers of musicianship in each track, it is that dynamic which makes this record so uniquely special in its inception and delivery aesthetically.
To dismiss this record as a nostalgic masterpiece doesn’t serve the band a fair slice of justice, As The Love Continues represents a routine breaking shift towards the most contemporary these boys have ever been received on a mainstream level; yet the sound remains honest, intimate and compassionate.
Relentlessly and somewhat furiously, Mogwai have come out swinging at a time when it matters most. Long term fans will no doubt debate where As The Love Continues lands as a spectacle on the bands own discography, there is no denying though, that this record stands up against anything the quartet have done in the past, not only that, but does so with grace and a swagger which has become quite synonymous with the Glaswegian noise merchants over the years.
Words: Chris Kelman