Mogwai's bipolar musical moods are evident on each of their albums, which shift at a moment's notice from ear-bleeding guitar rock to soft, sweet and almost sentimental sounds.

Mogwai's bipolar musical moods are evident on each of their albums, which shift at a moment's notice from ear-bleeding guitar rock to soft, sweet and almost sentimental sounds. "Mr. Beast," Mogwai's fifth full-length, departs from 2003's somber "Happy Songs For Happy People" but still explores familiar territory.

No surprise to Mogwai fans, this is a (mostly) instrumental album full of heavy crescendos and all-out guitar assaults. The handful of vocal tracks are relatively gloomy, but the standouts are the ones that don't rely on either of those things. Particularly, the slower, keyboard-driven "Emergency Trap" and "Team Handed" are beautifully sad pieces of music that counterbalance Mogwai's trademark abrasiveness.

There are a few surprises here and there, like the pedal steel-tinged "Acid Food." But for the most part, "Mr. Beast" finds Mogwai quite comfortable in a genre they've helped define. -- Michael D. Ayers