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Mogwai Happy Songs For Happy People album cover
3.87 | 197 ratings | 27 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hunted by a Freak (4:16)
2. Moses? I Amn't (3:02)
3. Kids Will Be Skeletons (5:27)
4. Killing All the Flies (4:35)
5. Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep (3:05)
6. Ratts of the Capital (8:25)
7. Golden Porsche (2:49)
8. I Know You Are but What Am I? (5:17)
9. Stop Coming to My House (4:55)

Total Time: 42:03

Line-up / Musicians

- Stuart Braithwaite / guitar
- John Cummings / guitars, piano
- Barry Burns / guitar, keyboards
- Dominic Aitchison / bass
- Martin Bulloch / drums

- Caroline Barber / cello (1,2,7)
- Luke Sutherland / violin (4,9), guitar (6)
- Greg Lawson / violin (4)
- Scott Dickinson / viola (4)
- Donald Gillian / cello (4)

Releases information

Artwork: Uncontrollable Urge

CD [PIAS] Recordings ‎- PIASX035CD (2003, Europe)
CD [PIAS] Recordings ‎- PIASX035CD (2003, Europe) Enhanced version including on the CD-ROM section a demo version of the music program Cubase SX
CD Matador OLE 567-2 (2003 US)
CD Play It Again Sam (PIAS) Recordings, Rock Action Records PIASX035CD, 940.0035.020 (2003 Europe)
CD Spunk URA101 (2003 Australia)
CD Play It Again Sam (PIAS) Recordings PIASX035CDP, 940.0035.220 (2003 UK) (promo)
CD Matador Records OLE 567-2V (2003 US) (promo)
LP Play It Again Sam (PIAS) Recordings PIASX 035LP (2003 UK)
LP Matador OLE 567-1 (2003 US)
CD Soyuz Music, Play It Again Sam (PIAS) Recordings PIASX035CD, 940.0035.020 (2004 Russia)
LP Play It Again Sam (PIAS) Recordings, Rock Action Records PIASX035LP, 940.0035.010 (2013 UK)

Thanks to useful_idiot for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MOGWAI Happy Songs For Happy People ratings distribution

(197 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

MOGWAI Happy Songs For Happy People reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by FloydWright
4 stars Having previously heard Young Team, an album that I considered a mixed success, I was hoping to find that the band had learned from their successes and failures and come up with a more refined effort. I am very pleased to say that I think they did. I can hear both the explosive elements of Young Team as well as a new element...much better mixing and a much richer atmosphere that at times can remind me slightly of SIGUR ROS. Perhaps it's the string arrangements that most contribute to this impression; I think they are a wonderful addition to the MOGWAI sound. The painfully short tracks "Moses? I Amn't" and "Golden Porsche" best exemplify this new element.

The only disappointments I found are in "Moses? I Amn't" and "Boring Machine Disturbs Sleep". In the first song, while it was nearly perfect, I admit I was disappointed by the amount of analogue hiss I could hear in the percussion. It was such a haunting sound they used--I just wish it hadn't had such a major flaw in it. The other thing that disappointed me was the fact that "Boring Machine Disturbs Sleep" was in fact a bit boring indeed, especially in comparison to the other songs this album had to offer. I've never been impressed with the lead vocalist's unaltered voice, so I consider this track the only true weak point of the album.

But, not enough can possibly be said about the other tracks! "Killing All the Flies" starts out soft, but has a surprising explosion into a refined version of a Young Team- like rock that really makes listening worth it. "Ratts of the Capital" has a similar effect, but is even better...even as the longest track of the album, it just isn't long enough. Perhaps the album's most haunting track, though, is "I Know You Are But What Am I". The piano part in particular is quite haunting and minimalist--but without becoming annoying and monotonous as I sometimes heard on Young Team. The percussion loop is also mesmerising, and that strange, almost Game Boy-like synth gives it the feeling of a cold winter's night under the moon. I also noticed there's something very unusual going on with the time signature--some strange aspect to the rhythm that I can't quite catch hold of, and don't have the expertise to describe. Whatever it is, it's quite intriguing, to say the least, and a very neat sign of the subtle inventiveness MOGWAI has learned.

As if the music weren't enough, I mus truly commend the initiative of MOGWAI and the generosity of Steinberg--as an amateur sound production enthusiast, imagine my surprise and delight when a white slip of paper fell out of the liner notes saying the album had come with a free demo of Cubase SX, no less, and tracks provided by MOGWAI of "Hunted Like a Freak". Imagine my further delight when I discovered the demo has no expiration date and is nearly fully functional. I am not an expert, and I don't pretend to understand even half of Cubase's full power--but what I have managed to figure out, I'm impressed with. I've truly enjoyed playing with the possibilities. Again, I extend my thanks to MOGWAI and Steinberg for this remarkable opportunity as well as for an overall great album.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album was a very pleasant listening experience to me, as there are lots of musical elements which I like present on this album. The band has managed to create a very strong emotional load on their music, and the overall feeling is melancholic and peaceful. There was a small joke in the ending of the album, presenting maybe "the happy people" whom this music is made to. I personally found it as a bit irritating ending, as it broke the album's style and aesthetic line, which probably was the intended meaning of this addition. Maybe I'm just a bit humorless person. This was my first album from Mogwai which I heard, and the second post rock album along with Sigur Rós's "Ágaetis Byrjun", so I'm not experienced listener of this kind of music. But these two albums have aroused my interest towards the genre, and I'll check out some other post-rock releases in the future. Especially Godspeed You! Black Emperor seems a very promising band from this genre.
Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is not the best of the Post Rock albums, is a little more simple, it doesnīt have so much harmony and I believe that in certain sense can come be bored, the album is in a way very depressed, that is the characteristic of Mogwai, and itīs good,when you are sad and put this album to your cd player, maybe you can identify with it, and to feel that these in the same frequency that the album, i dont know, maybe im wrong or something, but i think that this is always the part essential of these kind of albums, in fact, the title of this album is totally ironic but itīs maybe a self - criticism. Talking about the music, i canītt found this album very complex or with a lot of power , it lacks that part that maintain me attentive to all, i feel it doesnīt have the spark, but if you like the experimental albums, you have to listen to it, maybe before that you can get dissapointed, but its a question of inclinations.
Review by Carl floyd fan
4 stars This really is happy music...No seriously, it is very joyous, just like the title says. Don't listen to the rest of my review. < No, I can't do that: This is actually very emotional, moody music and sometimes downright sad. But it is very good for whats its worth, a cd that invokes a lot of feeling onto the listener. It is entirely instrumental and has nine short songs, so each song cuts right to the chase. If you like the post rock genre and bands like sigur ros, Explosions in the sky, GYBE and so forth you really can't go wrong with these guys, who are similar to the aforementioned bands, but at the same time, very unique. Post rock seems to be helping prog in its quest to gain the respect it earned in the early 70s and these post rock bands are doing a very good job of that! 4.25 stars!
Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars This is the only Mogwai album I own, although I do have a couple EPs that I listen to every once and a while. This is one I bought only after hearing Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Bark Psychosis, which kind of got me started in this genre. The album is decent mood music, and there are a couple points in it which are musically unusual, but overall I don’t believe this ranks among the finest post-rock works around.

“Hunted by a Freak” shows a bit of promise in that the overall sound isn’t much like some of the more mundane post-rock bands I’ve heard in the past few years (Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Sigur Rós being two key exceptions). The variety of sound effects and percussion used sparingly but to good effect and the string arrangements give this a pleasant (although slightly depressing) feel. By the end I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the album has to offer.

The short “Moses? I Amnt” is somber with a heavy keyboard track restrained strings, mostly violin I think. It’s an appealing sound but doesn’t seem to really go anywhere.

On “Kids Will Be Skeletons” I get the same sense of anticipation with the simple and patiently slow strings and guitar picking at the onset. Since this is a post-rock album I expect a frenzied crescendo at some point, and true to form one slowly emerges around the middle. It sounds like one guitar slowly and almost imperceptibly picks up the basic rhythm of the first guitar, which itself then wanders off on a variation while the strings and tempo instruments build to a screech. Another good composition but somehow as it fades away I’m feeling somewhat unfulfilled. I can’t help but wonder if Godspeed or some other similar band would have taken the time to further develop this one.

With another thought-provoking title comes “Killing All the Flies”, another guitar-picking- and-violin work that starts off mild, but really hits the roof midway through. These kinds of intense crescendos are the things that really caused me to become interested in this genre of music, but I think that this is not a good song to play if you’re depressed. I’m a pretty laid-back individual but this one can kind of bum me out if I listen to after a rough day at work.

“Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep” starts off differently than the rest of the songs on this album, with some rather cacophonous keyboards and mumbling vocals. A really uncomfortable listen and a song I still don’t really take to even after many listens.

With “Ratts in the Capital” we’re back to the slow picking guitar opening, odd time signature, and really detached keyboards. This one has the obligatory crescendo as well, sort of. Really the whole middle of the track is an amplified mix of sounds that projects really well, although at times it seems like there is some background noise that almost sounds like tape hiss. Also, the long fadeout (almost two minutes) seems to be a bit pointless, but still overall one of the better tracks on the album.

“Golden Porsche” has a guitar lead-in that reminds me of a children’s nursery song, I just can’t remember which one. I guess this is a traveling song, or maybe meant to project the feeling of a country drive, but it is quite short and yet another theme that seems to be underdeveloped.

“I Know You Are But What Am I?” opens with singular piano strokes, the only song on the album to do so, with some bell (synth?) bells and finally drum coming in about a minute and a half in. The drum track is quite irregular, some sort of weird tempo unlike anything I’ve heard before, but strikes me as more clever than meaningful. This sequence is repeated in the second half of the work with a bit of variation, and then takes forever to fade out. Once again, an interesting idea, but feels incomplete.

So not a stellar album, but a pretty decent listen nonetheless. Not much else to say – three stars.


Review by Prog-jester
4 stars I can understand why this album is so adored. The songs became more focused and short, less spacy and more predictable, but they are still MOGWAI ones - the guys play their Post-Rock blalncing between GYBEian utter darkness and SIGUR ROSy dazzling sunshine. Crossing melodies and tunes, wonderful rhythm-section and magic guitars, cellos and pianos...More than just enjoyable mixture of melancholic and joyful moments which fit together very well. I'm wholeheartely recommend this album by MOGWAI - if it didn't bring back my faith into Post-Rock, at least it has brought me hours of excitement and relaxing at the same time, hours of enjoyment and satisfaction. Recommended !!!
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars MOGWAI present us with beautiful, subtle, dreamy, atmospheric and moody soundscapes that will play with our emotions and mood.

"Hunted By A Freak" is the absolute highlight for me on this album. There really are no words to describe how this song moves me. It's so beautiful and uplifting. "Moses ? I Amn't" is a dark and moody tune with violin. "Kids Will Be Skeletons" is like the sun slowly coming out from behind the clouds. It just keeps getting brighter and then the sun starts to go down. "Killing All The Flies" is a cool song with vocal melodies and violin. This is a mid-paced, catchy tune that quickly builds 2 1/2 minutes into an aggressive guitar driven song. It calms back down before it's over.

"Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep" has reserved vocals, flute and some annoying sounds that would definitely disturb my sleep. "Ratts Of The Capital" is the longest song that builds to a powerful sound of guitars and drums. Keys come in too before the song calms back down. "Golden Porche" is a pleasant song with piano and violin. "I Know You Are But What Am I ?" has some prominant piano, while "Stop Coming To My House" has some heaviness after 2 minutes and a wall of guitars.

"Hunted By Freaks" is one of my favourite Post-Rock songs of all time, while the album itself is very good but not a masterpiece in my opinion.

Review by Moatilliatta
5 stars After a string of promising, but choppy and unfulfilling albums, Mogwai had finally made the masterpiece they were threatening to make. Happy Songs for Happy People is comprised of mostly average-length songs continuing in the vein of its predecessor Rock Action. Electronic elements are more often utilized this time around, including in the vocals; while Rock Action featured a couple of tracks with clean, unaltered singing, the couple of songs with vocals on this one are treated with effects to the point of the listener not being able to understand what the lyrics are. Despite how that sounded, this actually works very well. The melodies are strong and the effects merely provide an alternate way to use the voice as an instrument in the lush soundscapes the band have perfectly crafted.

Allow me to emphasize the perfection of the "soundscapes" I mentioned last sentence. These songs would be perfect for a film. The atmospheres and moods the group creates on this record are ineffable. It's like something uplifting on a gloomy day. Imagine a gorgeous landscape, bursting with life beneath an overcast sky as the sun begins to shine through. Of course, that description can't fit all the songs, but in general, that is the kind of feeling this album gives off. Such juxtaposition may not be new when you describe it in words, but Mogwai makes it new with the way they do it. The production is ever so lush and it really unlocks the true beauty of the compositions.

The band still runs the gamut from soft, pretty pieces like "Golden Porsche" to heavy, approaching metal riffs like in the 8-minute mini epic "Ratts of the Capital." While both of those tracks are wonderful, the band is the most striking somewhere in between. "Hunted by a Freak" is arguably the band's greatest moment ever, and "Killing All the Flies" comes close.

Happy Songs for Happy People is definitely a highpoint in the history of post-rock. Stunning.

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After I first listened to this album, the first thing I said to myself was: "MOGWAI surely has a different idea about the meaning of the word 'happy'". Very rarely had I found a collection of songs that deserved to be called "happy" less than the ones in this album.

The music, though, has been definitely, gradually growing on me. The first time I heard this record, it disappointed me, especially after comparing it with my previous MOGWAI experience, the very good "Mr. Beast". Here, the mood of all the tracks is about the same, as is the speed at which they are played. So, basically, one of my traditional complaints about post-rock was there to haunt me again. At least the songs were all short, something that made me tolerate the repetitive music much more easily.

But after several listens, "Happy Songs for Happy People" begun to take a different form in my mind. I started to read between the lines, to hear the fantastic textures in a much better way, to understand how the whole album is nothing but a big idea, and that it was just normal for all the tracks to belong to the same sonic world. And, eventually, I started to appreciate what the album's title meant.

This is post-rock, made for people who love post-rock. Under that light, this is a collection of happy songs, for happy people. It is in the link of the two ideas where the real coherence of this name lies: if this was just named "Happy Songs", it would've been the most misleading album title in rock's history. But the relationship we have in that title is different: this is happy music, just not for everybody, but only for happy people. For people who would hear through the notes and be able to grasp the entirety of the atmosphere and the emotion, of the contained emotion that the music conveys. A person who could connect with this music and enjoy its sadness, its melancholy, its depressiveness, that someone would be made happy with such a collection of songs. Hence these are, after all, happy songs, for happy people.

I had to say what I think about the album's title as it's very revealing of what it's inside: post-rock played with absolute brilliance. It's still not entirely my thing, yes, but it's, nevertheless, a fine example of what this repetitive and depressive music can achieve if done right: it can achieve beauty, it can achieve magic, a special kind of magic, not for everyone, not for every time, but most definitely honest and unique.

Free of the problem of extremely long songs which makes this kind of music unbearable, this record, much more true to the post-rock spirit than "Mr. Beast", is a better representation of the genre, and, even though I would prefer the latter as a collection of more varied songs, I can say that "Happy Songs For Happy People" is, in the genre's true perspective, the best post-rock album I've heard.

I can't give it 5 stars. I just still feel the need for more thematic variation and a little more changing of gears. I rate it as high as I did "Mr. Beast" and GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT's "All is Violent, All is Bright". But I have no question in my mind that, from a post-rock perspective, this is a better record, as this one manages to achieve magic without ever going out of the strengths (for me, weaknesses) of the genre. Depressive, repetitive, but, amazingly, beautiful.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Happy Songs For Happy People" is the 4th full-length studio album by Scottish post-rock act Mogwai. The album was released through Play It Again Sam in June 2003. Itīs the successor to "Rock Action" from 2001.

Stylistically "Happy Songs For Happy People" is the natural successor to "Rock Action". The basis of the music is still slow building, atmospheric post-rock, which is centered on the use of guitars, bass, and drums, but the introduction of piano/keyboards/synths and the occasional electronic undercurrent on "Rock Action" (2001) is continued on "Happy Songs For Happy People" and intensified slightly. The music is still predominantly instrumental, although Barry Burns does sing on "Hunted by a Freak" and "Killing All the Flies", and John Cummings sings on "Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep". Stuart Braithwaite who contributed vocals on the previous Mogwai releases does not sing here.

The core of the music is relatively simple and alternates between mellow sections and louder multi-layered sections. Great emotions are build from the beautiful yet subdued melodies and often you have to listen really well to hear everything thatīs going on. Their use of layered melodies that compliment each other and the generally mellow atmospheric mood of the music are soothing to the ears, but Mogwai can rock out a bit more when that is called for. The album features 9 tracks and only one longer song in "Ratts of the Capital". Itīs a beutiful and powerful song that builds from a mellow start to a great closing climax. Other standout tracks on an overall very strong album is the opener "Hunted by a Freak", the beautiful and melancholic "Moses? I Ain't" (which features cello) and "Killing All the Flies". As mentioned "Happy Songs For Happy People" is however a very strong album and thereīs nothing sub par featured on this release.

The musicianship is strong on all posts. Thereīs lots of emphasis on emotion and attention to detail, which is exactly what this type of music needs. "Happy Songs For Happy People" also features a warm, organic, and well sounding production job, which suits the material perfectly, so upon conclusion itīs a hiqh quality release by Mogwai, showing progress and an adventurous spirit, as well as fine musicianship, and high level production values. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Review by Dim
3 stars I love this group! The music, the attitude, the humor, the melodies, and pure originality of almost everything they write, but this one caught me by surprise. If you're a post rock fan then (IMO) Mr. Beast, and Young Team are two essential albums, and if you're a post rock fan then you DO own those albums, and should know that Mogwai are amongst the most influential groups in the genre they don't even consider themselves part of. Happy songs for happy people isnt the masterpiece this site has made it out to be though. It seems lacking in the areas that Young Team, and especially Mr. Beast excel in.

The albums shining moment is in the opener. Hunted by a freak is without doubt the albums biggest song, and in saying that, one of the bands biggest songs! The song takes a really simple arpeggio, some vocoder vocals, and multiple layers of keyboards to make an excellent dynamic song that evens runs in the standard pop structure of verse chorus verse bridge chorus. Throughout the rest of the album the group will go through varies different aesthetics, such as experimental (Moses I amnt, I know you are but what am I), Heavy(ish) (Killing all the flies, Ratts of the Capital), and pretty (Kids will be skeletons, Boring machines disturbs sleep), all of them solid, and excellent representations of the bands sound in their respective places. As an album though, with all this different sonic travel, and experimentation, I cant help but I feel a little empty at the end. There doesn't seem to be a prominent theme. The Title of the album is "Happy songs for happy people", but not all the songs are/make me feel happy/pretty, not all of them have heaviness, in fact very few of them do, and not all of them are experimental.

In the end, the album seems more or less scatter brained to me, like they put together a bunch of good songs, made throughout different periods of the bands history, past, present, and future, and kind of threw them all into a 45 minute long disc, with little thought put towards a central theme or idea. I may be roasting the music a little too much though, really all the songs are very solid, Kids will be skeletons is gorgeous, and Killing all the flies has one of the best bass lines this band became famous for since Young team. It's just that I feel a lack of composure, if some of these songs were thrown onto different albums, they probably would have only made those albums better, but seeing as that didnt happen, this album will get three stars from me.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I haven't heard all of this Scottish band's albums, but of the ones I have heard this is the most enjoyable and consistent. The album title is pretty funny considering the music is not really happy sounding, but it is neither dark or depressing either. Generally moody guitar-oriented post-rock with some electronics and string instruments added. There are vocals here but they are mostly processed through some computer program; the same one(s) that Radiohead used for Kid A it seems. The actual lyrics are hard to make out.

"Hunted By A Freak" is the best song. Very melodic and emotional. Love the vocals here. Great use of cello and organ in this song. Builds to such a great crescendo with the vocals and drums standing out. "Moses? I Amn't" opens with lovely synth and some guitar noises and cello join in. Some minimal drum machine programming later. Short but sweet. "Kids Will Be Skeletons" is in typical post-rock territory. This song reminds me of U2 or Radiohead for some reason. "Killing All The Flies" is more typical post-rock but much more interesting. More processed vocals here. The singing gets more melodic in places. Nice violin. In the middle gets louder and heavier briefly before mellowing out again and then the drums stop.

"Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep" has not one but two voices that are actually *not* processed, sometimes singing in harmony. Even though the vocals have not been altered in any way, I still can't understand what they are singing about. The music itself is nothing special. "Ratts Of The Capital" is the heaviest song and you can listen to this here on PA. Starts out with almost folky guitar playing before bass and drums enter. Some marimba-like sounds done on guitar strings. Gets heavier and more intense in the middle. Goes into an actual riff when the song is at it's noisiest. Gradually gets softer with this riff still going. "I Know You Are But What Am I?" is based around repeated piano notes. Some synth and drum machine join in. One of the more interesting songs here.

"Stop Coming To My House" starts with some cello, violin and electronic percussion before some synth joins. Then atmospheric guitars before distorted drums enter. Gets noisier. Some studio altered sounds and synth to end it. Some CD versions have the bonus track "Sad DC." It's nothing too special. What little I have heard of later albums didn't impress me much. This is alot more consistent and musically interesting than the first few albums. Happy Songs For Happy People could be a good introduction to Post-Rock, but don't expect most Post-Rock to sound like it. One of the better Post-Rock albums released in the 2000s. 4 stars.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars 7/10

"Happy Songs For Happy People"'s soothing beauty and little sonic adventures makes it a gem of Post-Rock music.

"Happy Songs For Happy People" has the happiest story of all Mogwai albums, excluding the debut; it is possibly the one that is least snubbed and the most praised among fans, once again if not considering "Young Team". Just to make it more simple, this release is the second best and most effective Mogwai album, the only album that comes close to the magnum opus. Memorable, beautiful, epic, and yet the shortest of Mogwai abums, it certainly gives a strong mark after it's forty minutes.

Musically Mogwai once again change: instead of the flat and monotonous sound of "Come On Die Young" these songs are much more enlivened, they once again have build ups to their songs, as this band truly knows how to do so. Vocoder is a lot more present and is used for a few songs, so that the original voice and lyrics are undistinguishable. But so makes it definitely more appealing for Mogwai fans, for it sounds more like another instrument rather than vocals. The synthesizers are almost never used, it is naturally another guitar-driven album, that experiments and isn't afraid to do so with different sound effects and walls of sound.

"Happy Songs For Happy People" is a collection of small, yet larger than life post-rock gems, smothered with strong emotion and impact. People think that the title is ironic, but I sense something more deep: the nostalgia, the sadness, but also the more dominant hope are moods that domain a person's life, whether we like it or not. Hope and expectations is what keeps us happy, thinking about the things that we are looking forward to makes us happy, just like thinking about fond memories of the past. These are in a way, truly happy songs for happy people who love to dream.

This concept is strengthened and proven with strong tracks like the sonically stunning "Hunted By A Freak", "Kids Will Be Skeletons", "Ratts Of The Capital". But there's also much experimentation with noise, like the closer "Stop Coming To My House", with electronics, like in "Moses? I Amn't", "I Know Who You Are But Am I?", which also experiments with a breathtaking piano melody. Calmer songs like "Golden Porsche", or the more drony "Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep", give another side of this album. However, there are a few moments where I wished there was more, since not all of these songs are extremely memorable, including some I mentioned.

Nevertheless, a very enjoyable album, a little gem of Post-Rock music and certainly one of the very best and most memorable Mogwai albums, because of its soothing beauty and little sonic adventures.

Review by Warthur
4 stars On Happy Songs For Happy People, Mogwai provide precisely what the title suggests: a warmer, softer, more uplifting and downright more cheerful reimagining of their sound. With what seems to my ears to be less audio snippets and strange tampering with the sound than previous albums, this was an unprecedentedly warm and organic Mogwai album when it first came out, and seemed like a drastic departure from their earlier works. It isn't quite that extreme a change - we're still firmly in post-rock territory here - but it is fair to say that, just like the sorely underappreciated Come On Die Young, Happy Songs For Happy People provides an insight into a side of Mogwai people's usual assumptions about the band can't account for.
Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars For the most part, this is a more mellow sounding album, yet with a lot of emotion. There are still a few louder tracks like "Stop Coming to My House" and "Ratts of the Capital" that feature the basic Post-Rock formula of starting out soft and crescendo-ing to a climax and then repeating and these have the louder wall of sound build ups, but the other tracks here are more mellow and keyboard oriented with less guitar lead than before. This makes for an enjoyable album with more variety and dynamic variation than previously and thus makes for a better album. The album can be easily enjoyed as background music or as music to concentrate on and still have a great impact on the listener. There are a few shorter songs, including "Boring Machine Disturbs Sleep" that ventures into experimental territory, but as for the rest of the music, it is quite straightforward and mid-tempo, yet still remains very emotional and meaningful. There are also vocals, but they are heavily processed and mixed deep into the overall sound so that they become almost part of the background to the song, and the lyrics are very undecipherable. But this style of vocalization does not take away from the song and fits the mood well. The music is quite accessible and surprisingly not as repetitive as you would expect. There are a lot of layers of sound present and each listen leaves a lot to be discovered each time you hear it.

The album is close to a 5 star album, but not quite. I don't hear anything that I would call groundbreaking here, but it is still full of variety and dynamism to make it an album that I find it enjoyable each time I hear it. I highly recommend the album for anyone wanting to explore post rock that doesn't necessarily have to follow the same formula to be effective. This is an excellent addition to my music collection and would be to yours also. 4 strong stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars On a supposedly happy album, the first song is anything but joyful. The song is very well written with constant development, be it it dark main motive or more peaceful with vocoder vocals. This one could have been longer. The second track is surprisingly pastoral, led by cello sounds. "Kids will ... (read more)

Report this review (#2965205) | Posted by sgtpepper | Sunday, October 29, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Post rock for everyone I've been looking for a good post rock album for a while, but since I'm not a big fan of the genre, most of records I listened to seemed boring to me. I instinctively knew that something in this music really appeals to me, but most often I couldn't wade through these endl ... (read more)

Report this review (#378535) | Posted by bartosso | Tuesday, January 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Mogwai is one of the premier post rock bands, and one of the earliest members of the genre. They make ominous, foreboding instrumentals, dominated by guitar and effects, like a more rock-oriented GY!BE. In my opinion, instrumental albums and bands are relatively hit-or-miss- sometimes it results ... (read more)

Report this review (#261144) | Posted by Neurotarkus | Saturday, January 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars In my opinion, this is the best Mogwai album. The music on this album is just much more memorable and interesting than on Young Team or CODY and more interesting than on any later album by them. Hunted by a Freak is especially memorable with its trippy distorted vocals. Ratts of the Capital is ano ... (read more)

Report this review (#150529) | Posted by King Crimson776 | Tuesday, November 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I've only been a fan of post-rock for a very short time. A couple days is all, in fact. I actually own a decent number of post-rock albums (Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven, Agaetis Byrjun, The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place, TNT, and, of course, this one) by the big names of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#110664) | Posted by Pnoom! | Sunday, February 4, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is easily the best post-rock album I have ever heard! The way that Mogwai can put together post-rock structure and experimentation, but use it in a pop realm, is simply beyond me. These songs really speak to the listener through small notches in noise, simple string plucks, and other othe ... (read more)

Report this review (#97952) | Posted by asuma | Friday, November 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Nice surprise! Since months ago I'm trying to catch this "post rock" stuff and I've found this wonderful album. Just like Sulateral sais in a previous review, this album is "emotional, magical, captivating" but no depressing but melacholic and tenderly sad. The music seems to flow in a distant ... (read more)

Report this review (#97516) | Posted by progadicto | Tuesday, November 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Wow! This album was my introduction to Mogwai and one of the albums that introduced me into the world of post-rock. It's a really brilliant piece of work. What I've discovered listening to this album is that there is a general philosophy on the cd. Almost every song is a continuing progressi ... (read more)

Report this review (#95654) | Posted by sularetal | Wednesday, October 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I do not own a complete discography of Mogwai. I own four albums: "Kicking A Dead Pig", "Come On, Die Young", "Young Team" and "Happy Songs for Happy People", and also the single of "My Father, My King." Of these albums, and the few songs I've heard off of "Ten Rapid" and "Rock Action" I th ... (read more)

Report this review (#69574) | Posted by | Thursday, February 16, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Probably the most essential post-rock release to date. Let it be said; I love Young Team, Come On Die Young and Rock Action, but not even the best tracks from those three albums combined would make up a record anywhere near the brilliance of Happy Songs For Happy People. HSFHP is post-rock at ... (read more)

Report this review (#39662) | Posted by | Sunday, July 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The best Mogwai has offered to date, Happy Songs for Happy People is still rather depressing, but huch more interesting and diverse than previous releases. Some parts are very sad, and others are full of anger; but over all, it is a very beautiful album. The sparce use of vocoder and the build ... (read more)

Report this review (#39237) | Posted by Spanky | Tuesday, July 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Continuing the experimental flair of "Rock Action," this fourth MOGWAI album is melocholy, melodious, and maniacal. Even more ironically titled than it's predecessor, "Happy Songs for Happy People" is a moody bag of sadness, but pulled off beautifully. There are effects- laden drums, strings, ... (read more)

Report this review (#35035) | Posted by BrainRock Ben | Saturday, May 28, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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