Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun – 180 Gram, 2XLP Clear Vinyl, 2017
Every Country’s Sun takes two decades of Mogwai’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 up; from a gentle, twinkling, synth-rock spectre to a solid, blown-out, skyward-thrusting obelisk. There are 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 Braithwaite’s seldom-heard melodic vocals declaring he’s “directionless and innocent, searching for another piece of mind”. 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. The last three songs ascend into explosive exorcism, closing with the colossal “Every Country’s Sun,” it’s searching intensity whooshing towards infinity in a dazzling cosmic crescendo.