Mogwai – Earth Division EP

It’s hard to work out the thinking behind the release of this four track EP a mere seven months after the pure sheen of Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will. In fact, the EP itself is mostly a complete departure from the previous album, even a departure from the Mogwai construct overall, but it doesn’t appear that way from the beginning. “Get To France” opens with a simplistic piano line, tinkering high octaves weave along to the misty string accompaniment and it all dances above a murky lower octave piano line. It’s the perfect show starter, you could have rolled opening credits over the top and then jumped head first into a gothic fairytale. But you don’t. Instead, you find yourself in “Hound Of Winter”, a folk ridden betrayal of your expected progression into the Mogwai soundscape and despite being a well written piece, complete with gentle piano, clean cut acoustic guitars and a Mogwai rarity – vocals – it is still an uncomfortable listen. It is then a sudden contrast into the EP saviour “Drunk And Crazy” and you may as well forget any initial complaints. “Drunk and Crazy” is pure unfiltered, over saturated, reverb drench classic Mogwai. It’s better than classic, it’s damn masterful. You can forgive your own impatience as the sudden surge of pulsating bass and synth lines starts its assault, and you ride the lows and highs of a rich murky soundscape before the return of the piano and haunting strings. It’s the lull and the highest point of the EP. As soon as that bass returns you’ve managed to justify why you bought it and why you will still subscribe to their next offering. The finale track “Does This Always Happen?” plays like the hangover. Perhaps that’s the running idea. You are supposed to ease out of the intense highs of “Drunk and Crazy”. Is “Does This Always Happen?” a Sunday morning after a night in the city, while “Get To France” and “Hound Of Winter” are just your working week? Mogwai have managed to create a masterpiece, a framework of three songs around the centerpiece of one.by Matt Whiting

September 26th 2011
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