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The first major Mogwai release to consist solely of songs less than six minutes long, MR. BEAST is an exercise in deliberate concision. Whereas many of the Scottish post-rock band's past glories have involved crushingly heavy riffs and/or beautifully delicate melodies unfurling in epic fashion, most of the tracks on this album get straight to the point, whether it's the three-pronged guitar attack of "Glasgow Mega-Snake" or the chiming slow-core breeziness of "Team Handed."

Given the reductive nature of this outing, guitarist/occasional vocalist Stuart Braithwaite and company don't bring any striking innovations to the table, but they do offer up some subtle sonic curveballs. The gorgeously plaintive "Acid Food," for example, mixes vocoder-filtered singing and programmed beats with a plaintive lap-steel line, while the near-ambient "I Chose Horses" features Japanese-language vocals by Tetsuya Fukagawa and keyboards by composer Craig Armstrong. Often sounding like a compressed fusion of the ensemble's startling YOUNG TEAM (1997) and frequently serene HAPPY SONGS FOR HAPPY PEOPLE (2003), MR. BEAST may leave some Mogwai diehards wanting more, but that elusive quality is exactly what makes it an intriguing record.

Track Listing:

1. Auto Rock
2. Glasgow Mega-Snake
3. Acid Food
4. Travel Is Dangerous
5. Team Handed
6. Friend Of The Night
7. Emergency Trap
8. Folk Death 95
9. I Chose Horses
10. We're No Here

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  • Store location: Upper Hutt City, Wellington, NZ

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