Stuart Braithwaite and co, Mogwai, returned to the UK for a couple of pre-Christmas shows in support of their new album Every Country’s Sun, with a ground-shaking set at Brixton Academy on the eve of their homecoming gig at the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow.

Festivities kicked off with a set from Sacred Paws. Signed to Mogwai’s Rock Action label, they brought a welcome dose of sunny, jangly, lo-fi art pop, and the joint vocals of Rachel Aggs and Eilidh Rogers were a nice counterbalance to the brooding instrumentals that followed.

Mogwai’s set drew heavily from their new album, mixed with single songs plucked from each album in their back catalogue. It was a roadmap through their journey as a band, moving from the quiet/loud guitar-laden formula of their earlier records, towards a more subtle, layered approach that has drawn them into soundtrack territory, before arriving at their new record and infusing past elements with an added dose of near-pop simplicity.

Show-opener, ‘Crossing the Road Material’ had a joyous optimism to it that seemed at odds with the Mogwai I know and I feel almost guilty for bouncing happily along to it. And again on ‘Party in the Dark’, the mould was broken: a straightforwardly-structured and enjoyable song with lyrics from frontman Stuart Braithwaite. ‘Don’t Believe the Fife’ showed off their soundtrack-friendly side, beginning with a quiet, languorous synth build-up, reminiscent of Brian Eno, that will almost certainly appear in some dark TV drama.

‘Killing All the Flies’ brought a dose of quiet-loud familiarity with Barry Burns’ altered, ethereal vocals, which we got again on ‘2 Rights Make 1 Wrong’, dancing around single, ruminating guitar riffs. ‘Rano Pano’ built swirling distorted guitars around an insistent drum beat. It is these songs that I found the most compelling; it’s hard not to be drawn in and gripped by them, and they leave the listener in a state of blissful exhaustion. Likewise, ‘Remurdered’ from 2014’s Rave Tapes, never seemed particularly remarkable on record, but live had a real sense of urgency to it, perfectly complimented by the ascending bars of fluorescent-coloured lights that flank each side of the stage and shifting in pace to the music.

As usual, the older songs drew a more passionate response from the crowd, but each song in the set felt vital in its own way. Though at times it felt like a bit of an assault on the senses – I don’t think I’ve been to a gig that loud for a long time and my ears took a pounding - they are a band that leave a lot of space to both reflect and get a bit lost in their music. For some, it’s music for physical and mental abandon: at one point, Stuart Braithwaite reproached members of the crowd down front who were crashing around to watch out for those around them who preferred to watch the band in quieter contemplation.

Mogwai finished with the doomed, apocalyptic barrage of ‘We’re No Here’, leaving the stage empty but for a wall of looped feedback, reminding us of the simple power of instrumental, crashing, breakdown of guitars before sending us off into the cold December night.

Crossing the Road Material
I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead
Party in the Dark
Killing All the Flies
Rano Pano
Battered at a Scramble
Ithica 27ø9
Don't Believe the Fife
Friend of the Night
Mogwai Fear Satan
Old Poisons

Every Country's Sun
2 Rights Make 1 Wrong
We're No Here