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Mogwai - Rock Action CD (album) cover

ROCK ACTION

Mogwai

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.41 | 78 ratings

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5 stars Let's face it. When Mogwai's 'Young Team' came out, that was it. The final word on the 'quiet/loud moody instrumental indie rock' sound. They had done it. What does a band do then? Where do they take their music? While they were trying to figure that out, Godspeed You Black Emperor stepped in and took Mogwai's sound in a new direction, stretched it out, turnd it into eerie soundtracks and haunting ambience. But for Mogwai, barring some miracle, there was no place to go but down. And down they went. "Come On Die Young' seemed like a half assed attempt at a new direction. And unfortunately the 'new direction' they chose wasn't all that new. A kind of wishy washy, un-dynamic generic slow-core indie rock. So when we heard the new Mogwai, we were ready to write it off, and we sort of did. It was slow, listless, and not at all like 'Young Team' which I think we had all been secretly hoping it would be.

But once we got over all our non-musical issues, and actually sat down and listened to it. Close, we were singing a different tune. It definitely doesn't sound all that much like Mogwai. And it actually does sound quite a bit like Godspeed (or what I imagined a Godspeed cover band started by the guys in Mogwai and the guys in Teenage Fanclub might sound like) but that's not a bad thing. Much in the way that Godspeed took the Mogwai sound and made it their own, it seems like this time around it's Mogwai's turn to say 'yeah? well watch this' and take their twisted sound back, and twist it even more, into a tranquil and dreamy, beautifully lush and absolutely epic album. A record you can sink right into. Glistening shifting guitar layers and textures, skittery and lazy rhythms, dramatic minor key swells all accompanied by drowsy vocals. A lot more vocals than we expected, but dang if they aren't nice. And it feels like beneath all this grandeur and epic sound, there are actually little hidden nuggets of catchy pop, just obscured enough to keep it interesting.

On their last release it was the horrendous cover art that didn't fit the music, this time it's the title itself that's the culprit (Rock action? Hardly). Ah, but we know those Scottish lads to be a mass of contradictions. Nevertheless, this is a fantastic record. Mesmerizingly beautiful and totally essential.

| 5/5 |

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