Mugstar: Magnetic Seasons

Slick, solid performance from cult Liverpudlian band.

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This Liverpudlian psych rock band have the double-edged honour of being the last band to have done a session for the late John Peel.

Now signed to Mogwai’s label Rock Action, they’re attempting to break out of their cultish niche, and Magnetic Seasons is a strong effort from the off. As Unearth kicks in to full motorik flow, brash chords underscoring the cascading, scalic opening guitar lick, Mugstar immediately hit their stride. Flemish Weave follows, with its picked chord shapes, an almost alt-country or shoegaze vibe to it, and a hint of classic psychedelia. A fuzzed-out bassline, simple, slick groove and weeping, violin-style guitar swells make La Vallee a truly spine-tingling moment. The sonics of the title track evoke latter-day Zeppelin: unhurried, atmospheric, yet catchy, it’s a far cry from the more stock Krautrock and space rock cuts here. It wouldn’t be a psych record without some long pieces, and if the 15-plus minute Remember The Breathing is an album highlight, Ascension Island doesn’t justify its 17-minute length. But then it’s that kind of self-indulgent experimentation that is exactly what one would expect from the truly great cult band Mugstar so nearly are.