Mugstar - Magnetic Seasons

by Steve Reynolds Rating:10 Release Date:2016-02-26

A 70-minute plus running time could quite easily put people off an album. Perhaps it could be deemed too self indulgent, pompous or even arrogant, but once you’ve put your ears through the new Mugstar LP, Magnetic Seasons, you will definitely think a lot differently.

Mugstar are nowadays filed under psych-rock but I think that genre is far too narrow for what they offer the listener. Once opener ‘Unearth’ is cranked up, there are shades of the glorious repetition of Can, Neu! and to an extent, The Fall. But their idiosyncratic, dark layers of Krautrock combined with a love of post-rock are injected with an unprecedented urgency that is the steely backbone of the track and the album

There is a dark heavy vibe that looms throughout the driving inexorable ‘Flemish Weave’ and combined with a maelstrom of power, drive and brooding muscle the incessant guitars layer up and up until they reach a truly encapsulating zenith.  ‘Time Machine’ is made from similar ilk and the band’s ambitious structural song arrangements push and push creating a truly remarkable piece of music.

‘Sky West & Crooked’ doffs the light cap against the shade of some of the previous tracks.  It’s ebullient opening chords and spacey feel pushes the rhythm section to the foreground.  It’s reminiscent of Mogwai and that’s no bad thing seeing as they are on their Rock Action label.

The incredibly hypnotic motorik beats that splatter across ‘Remember The Breathing’ tell an even darker tale and at 15 minutes long it leaves you longing for them to continue jamming till the cows come home.  It’s the centrepiece of the album and leaves a breathtaking fuzzy feeling once it finishes.

‘Magnetic Seasons’ is completed by the epic strands of ‘Ascension Island’.  A slow melancholy track equipped with all the absorption sounds, crooks and crannies that one could ever need. The atmosphere is tense, demonstrative and expressive throughout and the subtle changes in direction continue to hold your lugholes in its entirety.

Mugstar haven’t just made an album here, they’ve made a bloody big fat consistent one that has all the monolithic hallmarks of being one of the best of 2016.

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