Friday, April 14, 2006

Mogwai - Mr. Beast

Mogwai – Mr. Beast (4/5)

Mogwai is not a band that’s ready to rest on its laurels. After the ethereal Happy Songs for Happy People, these Scots have returned like William Wallace with his mace. Mr. Beast has a harder edge than the last album, stripping these ten songs of the electronic garnish and playing up their guitars. From this new direction they’ve brought us “Glosgow Mega-Snake.” This is the kind of epic rock Muse wishes they could play. For three and a half minutes they feed us guitar fuzz, and when they’re done serve us “Acid Food” for dessert. “Acid Food” is a rare delicacy on Mr. Beast, because the electronic percussion sounds the closest to the preceding album.

The songs on Mr. Beast don’t involve the whisper that can build to a scream, like previous Mogwai albums. Instead, each song rides out a soft instrumental or an “amps go to eleven” rock out. For every hard number Mogwai delivers a delicate palate cleanser. Naturally, the song length has shortened as the band has sharpened their focus. While not quite as effective as Young Team or Happy Songs, it is nevertheless encouraging to see Mogwai change their recipe and succeed.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m feeling strangely hungry.

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