Album: Mogwai <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Mr Beast, PIAS
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The Independent Culture

According to the guitarist Stuart Braithwaite, Mogwai opted for a louder approach to Mr Beast than 2003's Happy Songs for Happy People, so as to better reflect the tenor of their live shows. Not that any but the most assiduous Mogwette would be able to tell the difference: tracks like "Glasgow Mega-Snake", "Travel Is Dangerous" and "We're No Here" are typical Mogwai psych-rock grinds, trudging along from lonely, speculative intros, picking up guitars and keyboards as they go along, until weighed down so much they can move no further, whereupon they stop. Elsewhere, the band's quieter side is well indulged on "Team Handed", where cymbals splash around the edges of the funereal organ and piano, and the single "Friend of the Night", a poignant piano piece draped in waves of distorted guitar, like a Ludovico Einaudi new-age melody under attack from a swarm of bees. Pedal steel guitar adds a glint of sentiment to "Acid Food", one of a few tracks on which Braithwaite's sinister murmur lends a ghost of human involvement; but Mogwai's leaden, methodical approach generally repels, rather than inspires, any emotional involvement.

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Acid Food', 'Friend of the Night'