Reviews Mogwai Mr. Beast


Mr. Beast

I'm riding a veritable roller coaster. Yes, arguably the most clichéd analogy to begin any form of discussion about a post-rock record; I'm painfully aware but it's late and I'm tired. But I'm not going to compare the music itself to an intricate, high energy ride, but rather to my own reaction to it. My own perception and reaction to Mr. Beast was initially high. Then it lulled dreadfully. Despite a few more jilts from side to side, and few instances that left my head spinning, I finished on even ground. Neither having emptied my bowels in a fit of extreme pleasure nor fallen asleep through immense boredom. I enjoyed the ride, and I'll go again, but I'm not dying to start queuing to get back on. I'll go for a beer, have a wander around and maybe hit that shit up again later.

In terms of highs, there is "Glasgow Mega-Snake," which harks back to Mogwai of yore with its monstrous sized riffs raining down solidly for an all too brief three and a half minutes. This follows on from the understated opener, "Auto Rock", which sounds not unlike a more menacing and ultimately more engaging version of Sigur Rós' Ba Ba Ti Ki Di Do EP. The layered walls of guitars reappear later on the album, notably on the slightly showgazer-esque "Folk Death 95". While I do unashamedly enjoy Mogwai the most when they go full out with the Sabbath and the crescendos (Young Team, My Father, My King), some of the more low beat keyboard led songs such as "Friend of the Night" work incredibly well with its nods to late 70's Eno.

Regrettably, the quality is not so high across the board. Granted, most of the things I dislike about Mr. Beast are pre-existing stumbling blocks I have had with Mogwai's music. If you've never had these, then Mr. Beast may in fact be very suited for you. Firstly, the vocals do nothing for me. They float past; they aren't particularly offensive to my sensibilities or anything but generally add little or nothing to the mix. Secondly, the down beat electronics are by and large uninteresting and frankly bland. See "Acid Food" for an example of both these things at work at once. I never liked the angle Mogwai took on 2003's Happy Songs for Happy People. It always struck me as too much of a conscious effort to make a Mogwai album for Radiohead fans. Once again, tracks like "Travel is Dangerous" come far too close to this for my liking and I'm left feeling cold and bored.

Simply put, Mr. Beast is worth a shot. It can be quite enjoyable, and worth a mid-priced admission. My main problem is that simply I don't like when my roller coasters allow me too much of a chance to inspect the state of my cuticles.

6.7 / 10Neil
KFAI - Roar of the Underground
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6.7 / 10

6.7 / 10

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