Possibly, the best way to explain who are the people behind Mugstar and how far their unhealthy love for all things space-rock can go, is to talk about the adventure they have worked on for almost five years: the realisation of a tribute album to Hawkwind, on which, apart from themselves, great bands such as Kinski, White Hills, Acid Mothers Temple and Mudhoney participate. An album, aptly titled “In Search Of Hawkwind”, released a few months ago on the band’s own label, Critical MASS, and that, jokes aside, has turned out pretty well (especially, dear reader, if you’re into the cosmic thing). We also mention it because it clearly shows the four Liverpudlians don’t try to hide their influences at all: they know perfectly well where they’re coming from (apart from Hawkwind, they also worship Neu!, Can and Steve Reich, moustachioed men like Klaus Schulze and Conrad Schnitzler and the early Pink Floyd) and, even better, they know perfectly well where they’re going and how they want to sound: “Mugstar are the sound of 10,000 suns exploding, pulsing with repetitive beauty, pounding like a supersonic mantra.”
And that’s exactly how their fourth album, “Lime”, sounds, a real excursion into the cosmic side of rock, divided in four large pieces and showing its colours right from the start with a sleeve image of an old oscilloscope. “ Sunburnt Impedance Machine” opens the record with the band in their most furious fashion: abrasive guitars, psychedelic keyboards, an obsessive rhythm and a cloud of distortion form a sound reminiscent of Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd ( “ Interstellar Overdrive ”-era). “ Serra” then opens the door to Krautrock in the best way possible: with metronomic drums and rocky bass, an unstoppable cavalry raid that lasts more than thirteen minutes while the guitar weaves circular melodies, a synthesiser twists in psychedelic spirals and a clarinet improvises occasional melodic variations. “ Radar King” augments the tension: the guitars become harder, the rhythm becomes more emphatic and obsessive, noisy drones sound in the background and in the meantime the band let themselves go to and fro between intensities reminiscent of Mogwai at their toughest. And closing track “ Beyond The Space” returns to the field of kosmische, only from a calmer perspective, with circular synths bubbling over a soft background of drones, distorted here and there by some bass stabs. A splendid ending to a record that smells of cosmic spirit and psychedelica: it shouldn’t be a surprise Julian Cope considers Mugstar to be one of the best rock bands around in England today.
Mugstar - Serra Mugstar - Radar King