As The Love Continues is, as a complete project, a strange and eclectic cacophony, and a total masterpiece. From its 8-bit samples to its watertight drum patterns it is a flawless example of Mogwai’s talent and experience. This album is post-rock at its best, full of emotion and passion, combining electronic influences the future and the past.
As ever there is a high standard set for a Mogwai with their extensive discography and their own record label. The band have produced nine studio albums, a live album, four compilations and four soundtracks to date. This 24-year career defines As The Love Continues – it feels as though there really is 24 years of learning displayed.
It is perfect then that As The Love Continues will be released 25 years on from the release of the band’s debut single ‘Tuner/ Lower’. The band previewed the album in a live show performed and recorded at Tramway in their hometown of Glasgow. The performance was broadcasted worldwide on Saturday 13th February 2021.
Originally intended to be recorded in America, the album, like all things, was impacted heavily by Covid-19. Instead, the band set themselves up in Worcestershire and, described as an “Orwellian Oppressor”, had their producer Dave Fridmann zoom linked in throughout the projects inception.
Mogwai hope this album can take you to somewhere different from where you are, “Unless you are somewhere really amazing and then why are you listening to some weird music like this?”
The over 55-minute project begins with ‘To The Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate The Earth’ – full of synths Mogwai harness some of the electronic sounds that have developed throughout their careers.
Thus, begins a collection of songs that are fit as any to be the soundtrack to a main character’s story. Developing through the addition of piano, samples and drum variations ‘Dry Fantasy’ and ‘Ritchie Sacramento’ highlight the range Mogwai has developed.
It is as the album beings to reach its midpoint that listeners will begin to appreciate how captivating Mogwai is, even with the majority of the projects track’s not featuring vocals. For too long I myself felt uninterested in music without lyrics.
I couldn’t have been more wrong believing that they couldn’t provide the same energy I found in punk and elsewhere. It was both Mogwai and Aphex Twin who convinced me off this and why I can’t recommend them enough.
Mogwai make music without lyrics work by varying their sound, you are forever surprised. From distorted guitar in ‘Ceiling Granny’ to almost orchestral strings in ‘Midnight Flit’ each song has a new surprise. I can liken it only to waiting to open that next present on Christmas morning as a child. Each track a gift, different from the last, making each other feel more special.
‘Ritchie Sacramento’ is my personal favourite track on the album.
Closing off the album with ‘Supposedly, We Were Nightmares’ and ‘It’s What I Want To Do Mum’ Mogwai refuse to go off quietly into the night. The final track being the band’s most ominous and simple, clean guitar tones over rolling drums and slowed bass. Finishing with a nearly seven-and-a-half-minute display of post-rock Mogwai close out with pure transcendence.
This album surprised me entirely by being the project released this lockdown that has brought me most out of the pandemic, even more so than ‘tyron’ by Slowthai or ‘Who Am I?’ by Pale Waves.
Yet, I must include a caveat – I can understand why many new listeners would feel the way I once did. This album is brilliant if you are willing to listen fully but requires an open mind. It is very possible new listeners could find themselves bored by a genre most enjoyable in its intricacies.
Whilst not a Marmite love or hate scenario this album gets better with each listen and Mogwai’s only downfall may only be new listeners not appreciating a long declining genre. This is true of all post-rock however and I would encourage fellow students to explore a genre not focused on being fast and loud but contemplative.
This album is excellent technically, prefect to diversify you’re music tatse. It will introduce you to a band that have been making music longer than most students have been alive. Mogwai and post-rock is heavily underrecognized by younger people today. ‘As The Love Continues’ proves that it simply shouldn’t be.