Mogwai Mr. Beast

Forgive me Father for I have sinned. I have never seen Mogwai live. Yes, it’s true. A life-long fan who’s never set foot into a mid-sized venue to see these bunch of dour Scots have their fun while trying to decimate every last eardrum. Listen to "Like Herod” off of 2005’s Government Commissions to find proof of this. Hell, even they know this, as this album is supposedly their response to people who find their newer material not as earth-moving as their show. They succeed in tearing through their guitars, but, interestingly, only on a handful of tracks. There is a reason why, though. Mogwai have matured. Their knowledge of melody and song structure is, by now, so well-developed that they just cannot drop everything to blow out speakers. And this is why Mr. Beast is absolutely lovely. It mixes ferocity ("Glasgow Mega-Snake”) and pop-based beauty ("Acid Food”) with admirable clarity. The best song, "Travel Is Dangerous,” mixes the two extremes together for a statement that harkens back to CODY. If anything is a sin here, it’s how Mogwai continue to surprise. Do I hear an Amen? (Matador)