Liverpool-based Mugstar bring their unique brand of psychedelia to the Islington Mill for the launch of their titanic double-album Magnetic Seasons and it is safe to say that they have not disappointed. Mugstar, whose intense work ethic and experimental sound have granted them a wide variety of opportunities (including featuring one of the last ever ‘Peel Sessions’ for the late BBC radio DJ John Peel) since they began in 2003, are due to embark on a busy few months touring in Europe after the launch.

The equally surreal and brilliantly poetic Cavalier Song are the supporting act of the night, who succeed in gearing up the audience for the atomic performance ahead of them and also getting the atmosphere just right. I soon find myself surrounded by suitably subtle psychedelic visuals which are superbly supported by trippy vocal effects echoing between tracks which only further enhances the hypnotic haziness of it all. Mugstar breeze through a vigorous nine track set in front of a strong crowd without a hitch, which is even more impressive when you consider the sheer intensity and length of some of the songs on show. The thing that definitely strikes me the most about seeing Mugstar tonight is their ability to convey so much in their music without any reliance on lyrics or even vocals whatsoever; it takes truly gifted musicians to be able to achieve something like this and the sonic four-piece do it with ease.

The highlight of the night is undoubtedly the album’s lead track ‘Flemish Weave’, which pulls you in with its intricate, multi-layered waves that slowly develop into a much harder sounding killer tune. Another major crowd pleaser is the experimental ‘Ascension Island’, an improvisational yet explosive piece played, which, although weighing in at a massive 17 minutes, manages to keep the audience completely entranced through its entirety. Other favourites include the bass-heavy and slightly darker sounding ‘Regency Blues’. Another is the contrastingly airy ‘Sky West & Crooked’ which has a much more mellow sound and manages to be melancholy without being overly depressing.

To say the album has a pretty hefty run time – nine tracks raking up a total of 74 minutes – the night is over fairly quickly much to the dismay of the audience. This reaction proves to me that, a day ahead of the album’s release (4th March), Magnetic Seasons is bound to be yet another well-deserved success for the prog-rock band.

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Sasha Mossman

I'm a first year Multimedia Journalism student at MMU who is terrible at bios.