Mogwai – Mr. Beast

Mogwai – Mr. Beast
Matador – 4 stars

Post-rock as a genre takes itself so seriously that it’s easy to forget the soul of the music; bands like Gregor Samsa are too busy beating the listener over the head with a sign that says “This is beautiful and it huuurts!” to bother with subtle touches, with finding beauty in instruments less obvious than a violin. That’s what makes Mogwai good and “Acid Food,” the third track on Mr. Beast, great. After the obligatory piano intro “Auto Rock” and the not-so-subtle noise of “Glasgow Mega-Snake,” “Acid Food” emerges like a lavender flower effortlessly pushing its way through a thick concrete slab, fingerfood pianos slowdancing with Trent Reznor’s drumkit while a distant voice mutters beautifully. The song is hypnotic, a girl you pass in the crosswalk and have to take a seat in a café to forget. By the time the pedal steel enters, you have forgotten time and space and anything but the location of your stereo’s “back” button so you can do it all over again.  The reward for breaking the spell of “Acid Food” is great, though; Mr. Beast is a well-balanced between the subtle blips that have made Mogwai relatively famous and the noisy thrash that have done the same for Pelican. “Friend of the Night” particularly bends with tragedy and triumph, a combination of the record’s two distinct sounds. Though the beauty of “Acid Food” is unmatched, Mr. Beast is a heartbreaking record, the kind of composition that keeps me sifting through the Gregor Samsas of the world, hoping to find something that doesn’t need to tell me how great it is.
–Marty Garner

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