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Mogwai - Young Team CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.55 | 111 ratings

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3 stars This album kind of annoys me, and so does the band really. Lots of potential, very little of it realized as near as I can tell. This is one of the post-rock bands I got into coming off the high of GYBE and Bark Psychosis, and I thought ‘Happy Songs for Happy People’ had its moments but really, far too few of them.

This one isn’t even as good as that. But true to the form of so many post-rock bands, Mogwai deliver a couple of gems floating in a pool of mediocrity. “Like Herod” and “Mogwai Fear Satan” are both lengthy instrumental works with alternating lulls and fuzz- laden, crashing crescendos that can really set you on edge in the right environment. “Like Herod” has some of the same characteristics as some of the last few A Silver Mt Zion albums, which of course came out well after this one but were in no way influenced by Mogwai. The almost psychedelic, long guitar sustains that sometimes rise up to a crashing thunder, but just as often seem to fade away due to lack of interest. At least Silver Mt Zion has strings to keep your ears and mind engaged when Menuk gets bored – there’s nothing here when that happens except for the occasional percussive noodling.

“Mogwai Fear Satan” is another story. There doesn’t seem to be much of a letdown for the entire sixteen-plus minutes, and even when the guitars kick back into spaced-out mode the drums and flute keep the tension of this emotional fire-starter moving along. The lengthy fuzzed crescendos, if you can call them that – maybe ‘flights’ is a better word, are impressive and full of passion, unlike most of the rest of the album. I’m not really clear on the intent of this song (if there is one), but I’m left feeling rather pissed off every time I listen to it, so if that was the goal then – mission accomplished.

The rest of the album is very spotty to say the least. “Katrien” shows some early promise but drops off into nothingness just when the mood starts to jell. The same goes for “Summer” really, which has an almost identical feedback passage early on and late in the song, almost as if the band recorded the first couple minutes and then just mixed another copy of that on the end. “Radar Maker” is an ambient kind of thing that sounds very much like something that came out of an eighties Brian Eno studio session, and the essence of “Tracy” escapes me altogether.

On the other hand “With Portfolio” is a bit of a stretch for the band, mixing sonic feedback with some sort of recorded industrial sounds for a great quadraphonic head rush if you have a good home stereo system to enjoy it on. On headphones it doesn’t quite have the same effect though, and the first time I heard it on mine I kept checking for a short on the chord.

“R U Still in 2 It?” is probably the weirdest tune here, with spacey vocals that crop up at the strangest times, and a persistent guitar riff that sounds as if the guy playing it is stoned and just enjoys hearing himself repeat the same thing over and over and over and…

Finally, “A Cheery Wave from Stranded Youngsters” has some eerie piano – not sure what sort of digital effects mixer the band ran that track through, but it is unusual at least. Too bad this one wasn’t fleshed out a bit more – two minutes is not much to develop a thought in the post-rock world.

A decent album I suppose, but I’m rather underwhelmed by these guys and their surprising inconsistency. This thing is going to get three stars just for “Mogwai Fear Satan”, but would have been more if the weaker tracks would have been developed a bit more.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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