Mogwai Credit: Courtesy of Rock Action Records

Mogwai have never presented themselves as a sentimental band, but the (mostly) instrumental Scottish postrock group are leaning into nostalgia to commemorate their 25th year: they’re releasing their tenth studio album, As the Love Continues, almost exactly a quarter-century after their debut single, “Tuner” b/w “Lower.” Though the new record explores novel musical channels of the electronic persuasion, Mogwai also remain loyal to some of their own traditions—most notably by enlisting producer Dave Fridmann (a founding member of Mercury Rev), with whom they’ve worked on several catalog highlights, including 1999’s Come on Die Young and 2001’s Rock Action. As the Love Continues was constructed remotely—the players recorded their parts in the UK, and Fridmann primed and polished them in the U.S.—but that ocean of separation can’t be heard or felt anywhere in its hour of music. ATLC plays like a welcome next chapter of the journey Mogwai began with 2013’s Rave Tapes, which updated their classic postrock sound with vocoder-filtered singing and synth-centric songs. Conceived during COVID-19 lockdowns, ATLC reflects the band’s escapist approach to the studio, urging us to join them beyond the realm of reality with the help of headphones and magical thinking. Mogwai attempt to cut the tethers between space and time with unhinged guitars (“Drive the Nail”), carefully crafted atmospheres (“Dry Fantasy”), and a dazzling anthem driven by the previously underutilized vocals of guitarist Stuart Braithwaite (“Ritchie Sacramento”). These pieces are relatively pensive in tone, but vestiges of Mogwai’s cheeky, guileless rock past remain on tracks such as “Supposedly, We Were Nightmares” and “Ceiling Granny.” The B side of ATLC is bolstered by a pair of distinguished collaborators: one-man string section Atticus Ross pours a prismatic froth of melody over the neo-psych shoals of “Midnight Fit,” and avant-garde saxophonist Colin Stetson embroiders intricate harplike arpeggios atop the patient groove of “Pat Stains.” Mogwai recently admitted in a press release that they’ve “advanced without a plan since they were teenagers”—a comical confession from a band who’ve made a legacy of willful grandeur. What a comfort to know that beauty can not only be conceived but also endure without map or destination.   v