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Mogwai - Rock Action CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.42 | 80 ratings

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3 stars I have intentionally avoided reviewing post-rock albums so far, because while most bands do have their own signature sound, there are also many striking similarities between the bands, so one usually ends up saying the same things for every album. I'll try to avoid that, if possible.

Well, first of all, Mogwai is one of the most depressing bands I've ever heard, and I mean it too. The atmospheres and textures are simply so somber and dark, that at times they even challenge Univers Zero. Fortunately for me, I'm rather mentally sane, so this album doesn't affect me too much. For those wanting to get more familiar with this genre, Mogwai is a good choice, as they mostly concentrate on shorter, structurally pretty simple, melody-based tracks, and yet they often manage to have the same "epic" feel that bands like GY!BE are so well known for.

The second track Take Me Somewhere Nice is a brilliant example of that. It starts with a slow, dark, but still very catchy guitar riff, but before too long other instruments enter the track as well. The riff is actually repeated over and over again during the song, but it's the gloomy keyboards and the amazing string arrangements that really carry this song forward. There's just so much depth in there, that I usually end up in a hypnotic state. Especially in this song, there's a strong resemblance to movie soundtrack music. At this point, things were looking rather good.

However, while I still thoroughly enjoy Dial: Revenge, it's You Don't Know Jesus where things start to go wrong. This instrumental track is actually not half bad at first, but it carries one of the fundamental flaws of this genre - it's way too long. It's also such a typical post-rock track, trying to build up a huge climax, but it's just so predictable that it quite frankly annoys me. It gets old pretty fast. The vocals on this album are mostly fine, but a bit too melodramatic for my taste...

Rock Action is in a way a perfect example of the genre. It manages to combine all the good and not-so-good things about post-rock. It is by all means emotionally moving, very atmospheric, mostly quite intense experience, and yet at the same time, too predictable and just a tiny bit self-indulgent.

All things considered, this is pretty good stuff, nothing exceptional, but fans of the genre will be pleased. If you're not a fan (yet?), you're probably better off starting with Happy Songs For Happy People.

Jimbo | 3/5 |


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