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Mogwai - The Hawk Is Howling CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.69 | 100 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars 6/10

"The Hawk Is Howling" finds itself exactly in the middle between straightforwardness and experimentation, with a bit disappointing results.

I wonder if Post-Rock is slowly dying. Are the memorable build ups only going to happen in a metal context from now on? basically, is Post-Rock getting repetitive and less popular, while Post-Metal is getting bigger? Godspeed You! Black Emperor are gone, Sigur Ros are pretty much too, and most of the new "post" something are metal driven. Mogwai are the only big band of the genre that still survives, but the music that they do now is not the one we were used to. It would be a pretty good thing, otherwise there wouldn't be any originality and everything would sound like the early days, but the music I'm hearing, that pretends to be Post-Rock, isn't really so. But despite these complaints, "The Hawk Is Howling" is sort of a nice surprise.

Mogwai with this album start adding synths, more electronics, more of a lot of things that we don't usually hear in an album of this band. But Mogwai always managed to sound differently from one album to another, one of their talents I suppose, that is obviously proven on this latest LP. But many elements that we loved about this band are slowly vanishing, especially the build ups, thus many songs feel like "simple"instrumental rock songs. Eventually with the 2011 release "Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will" the Post-Rock elements will be even more omitted, going more towards a straight forward style. "The Hawk Is Howling" ends up being exactly in the middle of straight-forward, accessible moods, and more experimental ones.

As the album starts off with the first few piano notes of "I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead" you feel like you're going to enjoy the album overall: the rest of the song builds beautifully, reminding of the glory days of the band, and you end up falling in love with such a song, easily the most touching and promising of the album. The second track, the extremely heavy "Batcat" which gets unlike the previous song straight to the point and stays so for the whole five minutes, is not exactly something you would expect from this band, but another nice surprise never hurts. But as the album starts unfolding, the songs get a little more generic, sometimes trippy ("Danphe And The Brain"), sometimes accessible ("The Sun Smells Too Loud"). As the second half starts, you notice that the songs that follow are even more generic, because of their poor delivery and pretty boring feel, especially the last three songs, all of them longer than seven minutes, amplifying their own vagueness.

An album that starts brilliantly, but ends in quite a disappointment, leaving the listener pretty confused and a little underwhelmed, if not even bored. I admit there are a few songs here that I immediately fell in love with, and remain in my heart, and these songs, in my opinion, make this album listenable.

EatThatPhonebook | 3/5 |


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