Mogwai certainly know how to spoil and surprise their fanbase. After this year's release of their seventh full-length record Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will – which surprised many by being the most restrained album they've ever recorded, despite the misleading title – the Scottish quintet have already returned with their latest EP Earth Division.

Released in the UK through the band's own Rock Action label, Earth Division offers a different vein of instrumental interludes which are sure to satisfy existing and new fans alike, and pacify those waiting for Mogwai's next full-length to materialise. While the contents of Earth Division may have been culled from initial Hardcore Will Never Die… recording sessions, it's hard to see the two releases as companion pieces as they are so utterly different. Although Hardcore Will Never Die... lacked Mogwai's trademark build ups and swelling climaxes, it more than intrigued by delivering a series of more mature and diverse collection of richly textured soundscapes and intense craftmanship. Indeed it was the ultimate reaction against the genre that they have been instrumental in creating and nurturing throughout their lengthy career. Yet Earth Division, for all its similar rousing quietude is cut from a completely different cloth to that of this year's earlier record, and as such Mogwai continue to demonstrate their adeptness for change and experimentation.

While there's always been something of the cinematic about Mogwai, Earth Division sees them completely lose their trademark urgency and instead take a more uniform sense of silence. The entire EP sounds like samples from film soundtracks, even more so than usual, for their typical smattering of driving climaxes and sense of movement and direction are replaced by fluid, placid musical interchanges. Save for a few repetitive lines of simple guitar structures, there are no roaring guitar riffs and there is an obvious lack of thundering bass lines. Percussion is also kept to a minimum, something that, despite Hardcore Will Never Die...'s muted tones, still existed in its own right.

First track 'Get To France' demonstrates Earth Division’s sombre and silent tones perfectly. Starting simply, with a repetitive, echoing piano refrain that mutates throughout the song's duration, 'Get To France' could easily soundtrack a creepy, childlike horror film. It's the beautifully crafted passages of piano, alongside the stirring string sections that create this eerie, atmospheric ambiance right from the EP's offset. This continues with 'Hound Of Winter', which continues the surprise by beginning with an accordion and harmonica introduction. It is also the only track on Earth Division to feature vocals, with are undercut by the crescendo of tinkling piano notes, orchestral strings, and uncharacteristically simple guitar strums.

Third track 'Drunk and Crazy' is surprising in its immediacy, and its energy emulates its title. As the fasted-paced, most explosive track on the record, 'Drunk And Crazy' stands out amongst the comparative silence of its surrounding songs. Although Hardcore Will Never Die… may have be a mellower affair when listened to alongside the band’s previous offerings, the audible feedback throughout ensured that Mogwai’s music lost none of its genre-defining industrial edge. Yet there are no waves of distortion here, even on the EP's most familiar-sounding track. The only moment where sentiments of acquaintance seem within reach is during final track 'Does This Always Happen', which keeps promising to erupt, yet never quite does, instead opting to restrain itself by simply trickling off towards the record’s end.

While Earth Division certainly collides with the cinematic, it is by no means the band’s first foray with film, as Mogwai’s soundtrack for The Fountain in 2006, as well as the release of their first live film Burning in 2010 demonstrates. Along with the similar likes of 65daysofstatic's live-soundtracking for renewed screenings of the 1972 film Silent Running, the filmic route certainly seems to be a new direction for bands of this certain musical persuasion and calibre to take in order to evolve and tread a new and distinctive path by committing their compositions to celluloid. Although Earth Division is certain to be divisive – particularly for those who still yearn for the more brutal Mogwai of old – the record is one that shows the band at their utmost height and power, displaying the band at their most varied best, a tact that – had the band not already been astonishingly well-established – would provide the most splendid of snapshots to demonstrate just how wide-ranging their music is and just what they are still capable of.