Ten albums deep into their 25 year career, and Mogwai's signature post-rock sound remains relatively unchanged. While at times this leads to enchantingly lavish and detailed instrumental passages, a large portion of As the Love Continues feels bogged down with meandering song structures and musical bridges to nowhere. With that being said, the band still manages to excel at points, incorporating synth layers over many of their instrumentals, that if executed by another band, would most likely come across as garish. The opening track is a great example of this, with MBV-esque drones squelching in the background of a stark piano melody. While the band does sound notably clean in its production here, it's a much better performance than that of the following, which awkwardly tries the same formula again, with confusing electronic segments that strangely feel lifted from early Iradelphic-era Clark. The tone cries out randomly in a similar way to a guitar solo or lead, but with little to impress and more to wince at.
More confusion ensues later on the record with Fuck Off Money, and its first half's out-of-place modulated vocals. It's an especially disconcerting addition when it gives way to one of the best builds on the album, albeit one that is definitely earned after suffering through the beginning. That track is the perfect encapsulation of the album as a whole though, as it mainly boils down to an even split between painful, half-realised detours, and gratifying climaxes. The exemptions from this are the main points where the band shines: see Dry Fantasy for a calmer moment that removes the crutch of shoegaze backing, and manages to leave a strong impression despite being, sonically, a much quieter experience. Also, in the album's final stages, Midnight Flit's instrumentation soars, with the most grand presentation of any track here, and even if it isn't new for Mogwai, it's the best example of the band's continued ability to remain as talented as they are, nearly three decades into their career.
Still though, the previous assertion of a split in quality for As the Love Continues rings true, as for all the moments that harken back to the blissful catharsis of Mogwai Young Team or Mr. Beast, there are just as many that miss their mark completely. With that being said though, it will be interesting as to how the band continues their discography into the future, as this record does feel like the logical progression of their sound. Hopefully this new decade will bring with it a more interesting direction for Mogwai.
To the Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate Earth
Fuck Off Money
Least Favourite Tracks:
Here We, Here We, Here We Go Forever
Supposedly, We Were Nightmares