Mogwai : Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will
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Mogwai : Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will

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It’s easy to take a band like Mogwai for granted. The very idea of post-rock seems so 1999, and the Scottish champions of this genre continue to churn out albums with little in the way of deviation from their Slint-inspired sound.

It’s easy to take a band like Mogwai for granted. The very idea of post-rock seems so 1999, and the Scottish champions of this genre continue to churn out albums with little in the way of deviation from their Slint-inspired sound. Why should we still be listening? The answer is simple: they are always amazing. They even seem to be getting better with age, and their recent appearance at a Golden Plains festival was a clear reminder of their godly status as a live act.

 

For a band of few words, they certainly come up with some great titles. If this is not the best album of the year, surely this is the best album title of the year. And then there are the song titles: George Square Thatcher Death Party, How To Be A Werewolf, You’re Lionel Ritchie. It’s hard not to love these songs before you’ve even listened to them.

 

The album title mixes fun with bleak, and the album contents do much the same thing. Mogwai’s hardcore side bleeds through in the doom-laden metal grind of Rano Pano and the menacing rumblings of You’re Lionel Ritchie, applying a bit of muscle to the ambient meanderings. But they are equally in touch with their softcore side, captured on the mid-album twilight lullaby Letters To The Metro.

 

Mogwai are a band who know their strengths and weaknesses and part of this sticking to the formula are their restricted vocals. Often drenched in vocoder, the vocals guide the instrumentation as a secondary element. Human vocal chords arise on just two tracks – Mexican Grand Prix, George Square Thatcher Death Party – and these are strategically scattered among the instrumentals.

 

In between the dark and light, the five-piece offer an even-tempered middle ground for much of the album. This is perhaps their most accessible record, or at least up there with Happy Songs For Happy People and Mr Beast. Near the album’s end, just when you start to yearn for their more sprawling, abstract side to come out, You’re Lionel Ritchie rolls in like a fierce maelstrom and spreads itself over eight and a half minutes. If you’re looking for something even more outside the box, the limited edition CD includes a 26-minute piece recorded for an art installation.

 

The best reference point is the most obvious one – you’ll like this if you like Mogwai. There’s hardly been a profound trajectory forward since the band released Mogwai Young Team, but consider their seventh release as a triumphant consolidation of their strengths. Background music this compelling doesn’t even really need anything in the foreground.

Best track: Death Rays

 

If You Like These, You’ll Like This: This Culture of Background Noise BECAUSE OF GHOSTS, Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY

 

In A Word: Eternal


Out Now through Spunk Records and EMI