MOGWAI – Every Country’s Sun LP
Long-running Scottish art-rock institution Mogwai have announced a new album, Every Country’s Sun, set for release September 1st on Temporary Residence Ltd. The new album takes two decades of the band’s signature, contrasting sounds – towering intensity, pastoral introspection, synth-rock minimalism, DNA-detonating volume – and distills it, beautifully, into 56 concise minutes of gracious elegance, hymnal trance-rock, and transcendental euphoria. Produced by psych-rock luminary Dave Fridmann, it’s a structural soundscape built from stark foundations; from a gentle, twinkling, synth-rock spectre to a solid, blown-out, skyward-thrusting obelisk. There’s percussive, dream-state electronics (“Coolverine”), church organs as chariots of existential fire (“Brain Sweeties”), tremulous, foreboding bleeping – possibly from a dying android (“aka 47”). Their most transportive album yet, it also hosts their most fully realized art-pop sing-along of their storied history, “Party In The Dark,” a head-spinning disco-dream double-helix echoing New Order and The Flaming Lips, featuring guitarist Stuart Braithwaite’s seldom-heard melodic vocals declaring he’s “directionless and innocent, searching for another piece of mind”.
“What’s going on in the world politically and socially has to affect you,” muses Braithwaite. “It was very much on our minds, especially in America. We were vaguely getting over the Scottish referendum, then the death of David Bowie, along comes Brexit, and then Trump. The album was written in a very turbulent, intense period so I think it maybe feels like some kind of shield from that? That’s maybe just my take. Because it literally was for me.”
Work on the album began in the tumultuous year of 2016, the band submerged in individual demos, working for the first time without John Cummings (who left in late 2015); Stuart Braithwaite (guitar, vocals), Barry Burns (keyboards, computer, guitar), Dominic Aitchison (bass) and Martin Bulloch (drums) all pooling ideas via Dropbox. In October 2016 they took their glimmering bounty to Dave Fridmann – collaborator and friend since producing the band’s sophomore album, Come On Die Young (1999) and follow-up, Rock Action (2001) – and his Tarbox Road Studios in Chautauqua County, New York State, surrounded by little more than woods, wild hounds and marauding deer hunters. Home to myriad recording greats over the past two decades – including The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, and Low – our Caledonian heroes were soon followed by Californians, Haim, to whom they bequeathed “a lot of beer”. Full immersion ensued, “in a bubble,” notes Braithwaite, emerging into the new world order in January 2017. Every Country’s Sun became, subconsciously, a musical salve, a transportation sanctuary while the divisive bedlam of the wider world continued at ever-accelerating pace. This is music as a keep-out chrysalis, protective audio armor through exalting organs and portentous, dissonant guitar fuzz warping at the edges, bending the world inside-out into a reality in which you’d much rather live.
EVERY COUNTRY’S SUN TRACK LISTING
2. Party In The Dark
3. Brain Sweeties
4. Crossing The Road Material
5. aka 47
6. 20 Size
7. 1000 Foot Face
8. Don’t Believe The Fife
9. Battered At The Scramble
10. Old Poisons
11. Every Country’s Sun