In four songs, the most jarring moment comes when vocals – gasp! – grace the second track. And grace isn’t really the correct word, because it’s not a simple vocal flair: it’s an entire song accompanied by a vocal melody. And really, melody isn’t the appropriate word because it’s pretty monotone, but dynamic singing has never been Mogwai’s forte. All in all, dwelling on the incongruity of one song takes away from three strong tracks and a short dose of mostly instrumental post-rock that’s still worth taking in.
Earth Division’s brightest gem is the closer “Does This Always Happen?”. It’s easily as strong as anything from February’s Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will, and it’s a great indication that Mogwai is still a pertinent act, gaining momentum even as the sixteenth year of their career comes to a close. The aggressive, driving pulse of “Drunk and Crazy” reflects the band’s recent tendency to experiment with electronic and industrial sounds, and the EP as a whole stands out amongst a clamoring catalogue, distinguished by its relatively sparse compositions and its heavy use of orchestral instruments – especially violin.
The curious “Hound of Winter” aside, this EP showcases a subtler side of Mogwai that long time fans will love to see. It’s not as cacophonic as usual, but its unique mix of acoustic and electric guitars, pianos, violins, and vocals, make Earth Division an interesting release, and another jewel in Mogwai’s expansive crown.
01. Get To France
02. Hound of Winter
03. Drunk and Crazy
04. Does This Always Happen?
Run Time: 16:32
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Check out the song: “Does This Always Happen?”