Release Date: Sep 13, 2011
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Post-Rock, Experimental Rock, Space Rock
In an interview with DiS published last month, Stuart Braithwaite revealed that the four tracks which make up the latest Mogwai release were recorded in the sessions for the ultra-successful, borderline chart-bothering Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will. Considering the consistency and quality of that album, it could be assumed that the disparate parts assembled to form Earth Division simply weren’t up to scratch. However, to do so would be to dismiss yet another string to the band’s already considerably well-populated bow.
I guess the post-rock thing is sort of easy to exhaust. The music is mostly beautiful and well performed. The atmospherics are active and the sounds travel the expanse at a slow and ghostly rate. There’s enough brawn for “rock”(ers) and enough sensitivity to completely dispel the notion of machismo.
If that fire that hit the Sony/PIAS warehouse in London during the recent UK riots seemed abstract to you, consider this: Mogwai's Earth Division EP was one of the releases stacked in the warehouse when the fire hit. The whole stock of it was lost, and because they had to re-press it, they couldn't offer it for pre-order on their website. Multiply that across thousands of releases, and you have a pretty good idea of the effect that fire had on the industry-- it gave a lot of people who were already struggling to make money off music a hell of a hard time.
To append the alternately elegiac and purgative sentiments of Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, Glasgow’s favorite post-rockers are issuing a concise four-song EP that makes for a decidedly crestfallen epilogue. In fact, Earth Division’s spotlight on plaintive string arrangements and staid instrumentation more closely aligns it with orchestral movie soundtracks than anything germane to the bombast of rock and roll. It’s by no means a progressive statement for a band long revered for its innovation and influence, but Earth Division is still a fine compendium of Mogwai’s prowess with more sedate atmospheres.