For the 10 songs presented on Atomic: A Soundtrack by Mogwai, the band reworked the music they provided for Cousin’s documentary and, in freeing themselves from the abovementioned strictures, formed a coherent album that still manages to take the listener on an evocative journey similar, but not identical, to the one of the
film. Opening track Ether builds ethereal atmospherics from an electronic tone and string drone which persists until the song’s halfway mark when Mogwai switch to their more traditional wall-of-sound approach – one of the few times on Atomic that Mogwai apply this sound – but the horn melody holds the song together as a whole. SCRAM features a throbbing, writhing, quality to the composition which slowly builds before the track ends with a rapid de-escalation – rather fitting for a song named for an emergency shutdown switch used in nuclear power plants, and you will notice that the songs of Atomic are named for details of the nuclear age.
This is an extract from a review originally published on the 16th April 2016. Please visit Renowned For Sound to read the full review.