Mogwai - Earth Division
- Sep 13, 2011
Mogwai are going through something of a purple patch at the moment. The veteran Scottish noise-proggers kicked off 2011 with their critically acclaimed (not to mention fantastically titled) seventh album 'Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will' and such is the fluidity of their creative juices that just seven months later they have released a new ep for their fans to feast on. But that is the key phrase worth noting: 'for their fans'. This is not an introduction to Mogwai, far from it. 'Earth Division' is more of an experimentation of where the band can go next; a testing of the waters if you will.
Those waters seem rather tepid if the opening track 'Get To France' is anything to go by. A more generous review might call this piano-dominated track 'haunting', but 'Grade One recital accompanied by strings' seems a more honest assessment, such is the dull predictability of this forgettable track.
Fortunately things improve rapidly from here onwards, with 'Hound Of Winter' offering a delicate, soulful vocal. Lyrics and singing are fripperies normally eschewed by Mogwai, but this track proves that there is plenty of joy to be had by changing this in future.
'Drunk and Crazy' is certainly the highlight of the ep, with the bristling synth vibe creating an atmospheric urban soundscape that contrasts brilliantly with the orchestral break two minutes in. This track provides ample evidence, if any more were needed, that this band can write fantastically cinematic pieces.
Sadly the closer 'Does This Always Happen?' bears more of a resemblance to the first track, albeit with a bit more complexity and variety to draw the listener in. Nonetheless the plodding repetition of the main tune really drags and this would not have been a standout track on a full-length album.
Ultimately, this ep is little more than a collectors' piece for hardcore Mogwai fans, with a possible indication of what their next record might sound like. New-comers looking to discover this unique and truly innovative band would be better advised to check out 'Hardcore Will Never Die...' as it offers far more consistency and accessibility than this distinctly hit and miss collection of tracks.