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Mogwai - Young Team CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.55 | 113 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars It's obvious from Young Team that MOGWAI is a band with talent and ideas-- the album is for the most part a pleasant listen. Probably the greatest highlights, in my opinion, are "Like Herod", "Summer", and "Mogwai Fear Satan". "Like Herod" reminds me of the PINK FLOYD song "Come In Number 51, Your Time is Up" (essentially a reworked, transposed version of "Careful With That Axe, Eugene"). Certainly the most innovative on the album is the second half of "With Portfolio", which truly challenges the listener to follow along. Also, I have to say that the ending of "A U still in 2 it" is quite striking. I rather like the effect of the guitar beneath that resonating piano. And finally, can enough possibly be said about "Mogwai Fear Satan"? This is easily the strongest track on the album, even beating out "Like Herod". This track has a flow to it like nothing else on Young Team, and you hardly notice the length of the song, as you never want it to end!

To me, however, MOGWAI's strongest suit (at least, as I've got to know it in Young Team) is its percussion. It seems to me the drummer, who reminds me some of Pink Floyd's Nick Mason, is the one with the most variation in his playing through a song, who really holds together the songs. A prime example is "A cheery wave from stranded youngsters", which has a very intriguing percussion riff. In fact, the counting off at the beginning of this ensures that the listener's attention will be placed upon the percussion, and this is a very smart choice. Other places that benefit from these percussion explosions include "Like Herod" and "Summer". As for the "vocals", I would say the phone conversations work rather well.

However, at times there seems to be something wanting on Young Team-- hence the "in the rough" description. There's something rather dry and distant in the mixing, which at times can diminish songs that otherwise could have been made more hard-hitting. Given the drummer's strength, I would have favored a mix similar to what you hear with classic rock artists like Led Zeppelin or Joe Walsh, which would bring them blasting to the forefront to let them "drive" these songs. This band would benefit from a mixing job a bit more like what SIGUR ROS employs. I also think that a stronger bass tone might have been in order. The other problem is that with the exception of the percussion riffs, many of the songs do not seem to show much evolution from their original riffs. There are very few true solos to grasp on to. In particular, I think that "Radar Maker" demonstrates this problem, as well as "With Portfolio" (until the more innovative section kicks in. And, I'm afraid the vocal attempt in "A U still in 2 it" is less that inspiring in the verses.

I certainly found this album worth keeping and listening to from time to time, but I can't say it will be my most frequent listen, due to the flaws I've pointed out--sometimes by the end it becomes rather tiring to listen to it straight through. Therefore, I cannot really award it more than 3 stars, but I certainly can't go lower, because Young Team does have potential to it. "Mogwai Fear Satan" and "Like Herod", which are exempt from almost every complaint I've made, suggest that there is more to this band.

FloydWright | 3/5 |


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