Long running Liverpool psych unit Mugstar has never been accused of pulling punches when it comes to epic space/Krautrock excursions, but on their latest they push the boundaries of their craft further than ever. Pushing outward in terms of length (the album pushes past the 1 1/4 hour mark) and in terms of elements that the band incorporate into their sound, the album is both their heaviest and one that draws in some of the most delicate elements. The ideas for Magnetic Seasons came about from the band’s open-ended sessions at Whitewood Studios, allowing time for improvisation and experimentation to color the compositions until they found their groove. The resulting album is propulsive and crushing, but flecked with nimble fingerwork and touches like mournful melodica, recalling a heavy Krautrock version of Clinic at times and ambling further into the spaced mindset of Acid Mother’s temple in others. Though, as the band has noted the presence of Fender Rhodes plays a huge part as a central sound and inspiration on the record, often acting as a starting point for their improvisations. That element gives them a touch of Bitches’ Brew if the brew were thick as glue and shot through with clouds of exhaust.
That this album follows a solid collaboration with Can’s Damo Suzuki both gives them the status of legendary approval and a personal bar that’s a tall order to overcome, but the band manage to clear it easily and slot this in among their most essential releases. Finding its way out on Mogwai’s own Rock Action records, there are more than a few fine folks in their corner and its easy to see why. By the time this thing grinds to a halt, the listener is elevated, torn and battered. A damn fine piece of work.
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