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MOGWAI

Post Rock/Math rock • United Kingdom


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Mogwai picture
Mogwai biography
Formed in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1995

Named for that famous Gremlin, MOGWAI is Stuart Braithwaite (guitar, vocals-when there actually are vocals), Dominic Aitchison (guitar, bass) and Martin Bulloch (drums). MOGWAI are one of the most influentail post-rock bands of all time. They got together with the goal of creating "serious guitar music." What they've done is create seven (basically - five LPs and two compilations of singles) superb albums of gorgeous yet bombastic music. 98% instrumental, there are two sides to MOGWAI, a Dr. Jekyll side and a Mr. Hyde side. They can be melodic and beautiful and then anarchic and destructive, sometimes within the same track. Bands like BILLY MAHONIE and SLINT give a touchtone, but MOGWAI is truly unique.

Tracking down the literally dozens of splin 7" vinyl singles, compilation album contributions, etc, is exhausting and pointeless, because the band's done it for you. Two full-length compilations are out, "Ten Rapid" and "EP+6." Be careful when buying the latter. There's an "EP," and "EP+2," an "EP+4," a "No Education = No Future," and a "4 Satin." All these repeat themselves but are captured in full on "EP+6" - that's the one to get. At any rate, all the rare tracks that fell through the holes are available as free downloads from MOGWAI's official site.

The full albums are "Young Team," "Come On Die Young," "Rock Action," and "Happy Songs for Happy People," plus the single track 20 minute EP "My Father My King." There is a very stripped and organic feel to "Young Team," "Come On Die Young," and "My Father My King." There are more electronics covering "Rock Action" and "Happy Songs for Happy People." While all MOGWAI is highly recommended, "Rock Action" is the place to start. Also, "EP+6" minus one 13 minute noise track, is stupendous.

: : : BrainRock Ben, Birmingham, AL, USA : : :

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MOGWAI discography


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MOGWAI top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.54 | 112 ratings
Young Team
1997
3.43 | 7 ratings
Kicking A Dead Pig - Mogwai Songs Remixed
1998
2.92 | 72 ratings
Come On Die Young
1999
3.42 | 80 ratings
Rock Action
2001
3.91 | 186 ratings
Happy Songs For Happy People
2003
3.71 | 109 ratings
Mr. Beast
2006
3.34 | 39 ratings
Zidane - A 21st Century Portrait (OST)
2006
3.77 | 97 ratings
The Hawk Is Howling
2008
3.81 | 140 ratings
Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
2011
3.82 | 30 ratings
Les Revenants (OST)
2013
3.25 | 53 ratings
Rave Tapes
2014
3.57 | 23 ratings
Atomic (OST)
2016
3.24 | 28 ratings
Every Country's Sun
2017
3.92 | 13 ratings
Kin (OST)
2018

MOGWAI Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.90 | 20 ratings
Special Moves
2010
3.50 | 4 ratings
iTunes Festival: London 2011
2011

MOGWAI Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MOGWAI Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.98 | 20 ratings
Ten Rapid (Collected Recordings 1996-1997)
1997
3.62 | 15 ratings
Government Commissions: BBC Sessions 1996-2003
2005
2.19 | 7 ratings
A Wrenched Virile Lore
2012
3.83 | 6 ratings
Central Belters
2015

MOGWAI Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Tuner/Lower
1996
3.80 | 6 ratings
4 Satin
1997
2.60 | 5 ratings
No Education = No Future (Fuck the Curfew)
1998
3.90 | 13 ratings
EP
1999
3.43 | 16 ratings
My Father, My King
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
Travels in Constants, Vol. 12
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
Travel is Dangerous
2006
3.08 | 5 ratings
Friend Of The Night
2006
2.23 | 3 ratings
Batcat
2008
3.58 | 12 ratings
Earth Division
2011

MOGWAI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Earth Division by MOGWAI album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.58 | 12 ratings

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Earth Division
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Earth Division is an EP that was released by Mogwai in 2011. The 4 tracks on the EP were exclusive to the recording and were recorded during the same sessions as "Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will" and released later in the same year. These tracks just didn't seem to be in the same style as what was on the album in that they were quieter tracks, so the band released them separately to show off that quiet side of the band.

"Get to France" proves that fact right away as it is led off by a solo piano and later joined by strings and various keyboard stylings. The track is a lovely, almost cinematic theme that stays soft throughout. "Hound of Winter" is led more by an acoustic guitar, this time with twinkling piano, soft accordion effects and swelling strings and guitars. There are vocals in this track, the singing kept pensive, yet out front instead of buried and subdued. Again, this track is beautiful and cinematic.

"Drunk and Crazy" is harsher with thick droning guitars. The guitar wall waxes and wanes as it goes on, the drums are somewhat subdued into the mix. At 2 minutes, the wall of sound expires and we are left with pleading strings. Piano chords chime in with a fuzzy effect making things a bit unsettling. As the music builds a bit, the harsh wall of guitars push the music forward again, first tentatively and then almost taking completely over again. "Does this Always Happen?" quiets things down again with a chiming guitar riff and a violin creating another beautiful theme. Piano again joins in with bass and the piece continues along with that same soundtrack feel as before.

The album is exquisitely lovely with sadness and pain expressed in a heartfelt way mostly unlike the band has done before. It shows a more vulnerable side of the band and their music. It is obvious why this music had to be separated from the album and placed here on its own. The biggest fault of this, as is the problem with many short EPs, is that it is too short. You only want to hear more of this by the time it ends. But the music is lovely enough to merit a 4 star rating.

 Les Revenants (OST) by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.82 | 30 ratings

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Les Revenants (OST)
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

4 stars The TV show wasn't a masterpiece, the plot had a huge number of logical faults and the authors didn't have any idea of how to explain it, so a lot of things remained unexplained and incomplete. But the atmosphere of that French village on the alps, with people coming back from death and resurrecting several times and a number of related misteries was able to keep you sit in front of the TV.

Well, one of the reasons is that the music composed by MOGWAI was perfectly fitting in that atmosphere. It was so integrated that I can't imagine watching it with a different soundtrack. In example, the Americans, maybe Netflix tried a remake, but unfortunately the actors were "standardized" to the American style and the soundtrack...well I don't think I resisted more than 15 minutes to the whole.

So back to Mogwai: this was not a horror movie even though there's a thrilling atmosphere, and the musical comment is not that of a horror movie, but it's like a light nightmare. The music can show all the dark side of the story, which include serial killers, religious fanatics, alchoolist parents, almost all the possible dark aspects of the human nature, but there's some melancholy, sense of wonder, so a number of sensation that the music is able to create, not just comment.

I don't know if I would have appreciated the movie without that music and vice versa. Keeping the two things separated isn't easy. I can say that I enjoy listening to the album "alone". All the tracks, except one, are instrumental, slow, atmospheric and dark but not too much. The non-instrumental track is a sort of slow country melodic song in the vein of Roger WATERS solo stuff, but without him screaming as usual.

I actually heard the Mogwai debut only, and I didn't like much. This TV stuff had the merit of making me appreciate their music and their other works. (I still don't like the debut, anyway).

So I don't know if I'm suggesting/reviewing the album or the movie. let's say both. The story is inconsistent, but the atmosphere and the OST are great.

 Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.81 | 140 ratings

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Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars Recently I had contact with a member of the new Italian prog band Giant The Vine. I had asked for a biography, and read about their honouring of Mark Hollis (Talk Talk), and their appreciation for post rock bands, like Talk Talk and Mogwai. Also due to a topic on the Forum I decided to take a dive into the world of post rock, and to listen to Mogwai its album Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will. While listening I notice that the music is simply structured, melodic and harmonic, with a strong focus on emotion. The atmospheres range from dreamy or hypnotizing to dark with up-tempo beats. The colouring with the guitars is wonderful, very moving, from tender to raw. I am pleased with the subtle use of instruments like the organ, vocoder, piano and violin. This colouring gives the music an extra dimension so you can easily identify with the music, feeling sad, euphoric or agressive. I grew up in the Eighties with U2 and Simple Minds, I had to think about these bands at the point of accessible progressive pop rock with emotion. I am curious to more post rock encounters, this one is certainly worth, thanks Giant The Vine, this Old School proghead has broadened his musical territory, at the age of 58!
 Come On Die Young by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 1999
2.92 | 72 ratings

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Come On Die Young
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars Mogwai's second full length album "Come On Die Young" (released in 1999) was the first album to feature Barry Burns who had worked with the band in the past and was made one of the core members. This would be the last time that Mogwai's line up would change until 2015. The critics were a bit harsh with the album after they raved over the debut album, mostly because the sound was less intense. Mogwai wanted to create a sparser sound for this album inspired by Nick Drake, The Cure, Slint and Low. The critics were not so happy about the change. However, the album proves to be a step in the right direction in the long run as it sees the band not settling in on a single sound, but branching out and trying out new styles.

The original plan for the album was to be quite shorter, but the record label talked them into including more tracks that they had recorded during the recording process, so the album ended up having a total length of over an hour, 67 minutes to be a little more exact. The first track "Punk Rock" is a pensive track featuring a simple electric guitar playing while Iggy Pop talks in the background. This speech is taken from an interview done in March of 1977, about punk rock, of course. This is followed by "Cody", which is slow and pensive also, but has a steady beat behind the guitar. The track also includes distinct vocals, where most of Mogwai's material that features vocals that are subdued and mixed down deep so that they are almost not heard, but more like becoming as an instrument. This track also has a distinct melody, a slide guitar and more accessible than normal. The melody is nice and the feeling is quite relaxed, a lovely sound.

"Helps Both Ways" originally featured John Madden doing a commentary during a game in 1998, but this was replaced with another commentary later because the use was unauthorized. While this commentary plays softly in the background, almost like a TV playing, the guitars, synths and flute play along slowly and pensively to the beat. Again, it's a nice, slow track, that stays mellow throughout. After this point, the music continues in the same slow or moderately slow style with pensive guitars, synths and occasional flute with differing effects come in. The melodies get less interesting and the songs start sounding a bit same-y and lackadaisical. It's not bad if you just want to chill and float along, but it doesn't invoke the emotion of "Young Team" or some of their other, later albums.

"May Nothing But Happiness Come Through Your Door" finally stretches the length to exceed 8 minutes, but continues with that same feeling. However, it does have time to develop and crescendo to where there is more intensity, but nothing much else changes during the duration of the track. "Ex-Cowboy" and "Chocky" are also longer tracks at over 9 minutes. The grandeur that is missed in most of this album starts to come out on "Ex-Cowboy" and, with the help of violin, builds into a wall of sound, but reaches the climax quickly and then dies down again and goes quite minimal for a while before building again, this time to a longer climactic section. It's better, but not very ingenious. "Chocky" is a much better track that lessens the guitar and increases the keyboards, creating a different texture and giving the listener more variety. It features a repeating piano line against soft droning in the background. Feedback and effects build out of the drone when the piano stops and things increase in volume, and then fall back. Another piano melody begins, this time more distinct and the soft drone continues in the background and drums carry a steady beat. It builds quite slowly, most of the build coming out of the drone as individual sounds become more apparent as the volume increases. Towards the end of the track, the piano ends, but the drone suddenly grows much louder and then cuts off.

"Christmas Steps" is the longest track at over 10 minutes, and is more of a return to form of the previous album, more intense and grandiose. There was a track on Mogwai's earlier EP "No Education = No Future" called "Xmas Steps". The melody of both songs is pretty much the same, but "Christmas Steps" is much slower than the original. The structure is pretty close though as the guitar melody is repeated and then doubled and improvised on as the music continues to grow and the guitars play repeated chords. Later, as the tempo and loudness increases, the guitars get distorted and quite heavy. After 6 minutes, things clear up as the noisy background drops off and then a violin solo starts up deep in the background. The music gets very quiet until the end as just the guitars play their repeating melody and the violin continues. This and "Chocky" are definitely the highlights of the album.

Though not as interesting as some of their later, more developed albums, or their previous album, "Come On Die Young" still has it's great moments, they are just a lot fewer and farther between as the album is more of a study in minimalism. There is nothing wrong with that, but the middle of the album definitely sags quite a bit as the songs start to sound too much the same. The best parts of the album are the first 3 tracks and the last 3 (not counting the final postlude track, which is pretty much a throw away, short track). I wouldn't start exploring Mogwai's music with this album, but it is a good one to come back to later mostly for the better tracks.

 Young Team by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.54 | 112 ratings

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Young Team
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars I am very glad that I decided to give Mogwai another chance after my disappointment with Rock Action, this time deciding to go right back to the start where the band were apparently at their most minimalistic and representative of post rock. What I found here was far from a perfect album, but it's one that definitely has its fair share of good moments on it, and is just enough for me to feel like looking a bit more into the band. The main aspect of this album that I enjoy is the leaning on noise rock that a lot of the louder sections on songs have, which is definitely an interesting contrast to what often feels like an explosion of indie rock with a lot of other bands, providing a more unique listening experience. There is also a more ambient side to the album, many songs escalating very little, more like soundscapes than full fledged songs, which are often where I find this album falter.

Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home starts the album off nicely, staying mostly at one volume, but having a really nice jump near the end where the guitar distortion kicks in, while still maintaining a melancholy atmosphere, nothing particularly intense, just an extra layer of depth that creates a more grandiose atmosphere. Like Herod is where things really pick up though, with an ominous bassline, which subtley changes throughout, as the guitar switches between eerily playing off the bass, and having a very slightly more upbeat tone to it, harkening back to the previous track in terms of tone. The song then goes full throttle and explodes into a wall of noise, which ot me sounds like utter panic as everything seems to be falling apart at the seams, the repetitive, wailing guitars sounding similar to some sort of emergency siren. Katrien feels very disappointing to me after the incredible heights the previous song reached, this one being a fuzzy, meandering experience with some spoken word that adds absolutely nothing. Tracy is somewhat better, feeling as if something's taking place, especially with the noise in the background adding additional weight to the core melody, which in itself is extremely good. It goes on for a bit too long, but it's nothing egregious. Summer further picks up in terms of energy, having a faster pace and reminding me strongly of the intro to Metallica's Fade To Black, although I do find the heavier sections here to lack any sort of major impact. WIth Portfolio on the other hand causes the flow of the album to fall flat, being nothing more than a wonky sounding piano arrangement with annoying noise plastered haphazardly over the top. R U Still In 2 It? is the only song with proper vocals, an it is by far the most bleak song here, and while it does drag on a bit, the way it captures such a feeling of isolation is impeccable, so tonally it's extremely good. The final track is also regarded as the best that the band has released, and for good reason I'd say, as the rest of Young Team almost feels as if it simply served as a 50 minute prelude for Mogwai Fear Satan. After an album filled with emptiness and melancholy, this track acts as a ray of sunshine piercing through the clouds, and is very uplifting, being in an absolute constant state of building up and hitting cacophonous climaxes. The song is in a constant state of movement, along with being amazingly powerful. This isn't the best post rock song I've ever heard, but even so, it's still an amazing song that almost makes the multitude of weak points throughout the rest of the album worth it.

Overall, this akbum has some amazing high points on it, but is also rife with filler tracks and a gneerally meandering feel to it, I personally feel like they could have cut this album down to about 45 minutes and had missed out on very little. Overall, while I do like the difference in sound this album has, leaning more on noise than indie rock in many points, it still ultimately doesn't work amazingly on the basis of many of the compositions feeling as if they could have used some tweaking and cutting. I still stand by the fact that I feel as if this album has made me see Mogwai in a more positive light after Rock Action, to the point where I want to listen to some of their other material, but this album does have some flaws, even if Like Herod and Mogwai Fear Satan are both absolutely killer.

Best songs: Like Herod, Mogwai Fear Satan

Weakest songs: Katrien, With Portfolio, Radar Maker

Verdict: Not where I'd start with post rock, but a pretty decent album, despite it being on the overlong side of things. Give it a listen if you enjoy post rock, but this isn't where I'd recommend you start off in the genre.

 Ten Rapid (Collected Recordings 1996-1997) by MOGWAI album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1997
2.98 | 20 ratings

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Ten Rapid (Collected Recordings 1996-1997)
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

2 stars "Ten Rapid" is a collection of "Mogwai" early recordings that weren't released in their original forms on any of their albums released previously. The release dates on these various songs are between 1996 - 97. This album will give insight to fans and other listeners on how Mogwai's sound started to develop. The recordings, being early performances, are somewhat noisy in nature, but reflect the direction the band wanted to take it's sound and expand the post rock genre.

The album starts out with "Summer" which was released as a double A-side with "Ithica 27:9", which is included later on this album. It was also released in a different version on the debut album "Young Team". Beginning with a noisy and distorted version of the song's chorus, this soon fades and is replaced by a more melodic melody with occasional bursts of heaviness. The sound is similar to the direction the band "Tortoise" was taking in the beginning of their career but the song gets quite chaotic again as it continues while the vibes still shine through the wall of noise that comes and goes. "Helicon 2" (otherwise known as "New Paths to Helicon Pt. 2) , was released on a 7" single along with Part 1 of the song. This has a more laid back sound with the melody played by bass at first and then developed further by guitar as the drums move the track slowly along.

"Angels vs. Aliens" is a re-recorded version of the track of the same name that was released on a split single (shared with "Dweeb) in 1996. The track fades in with jangly guitars, bass line and drums. There are the typical subdued vocals that were often heard in Mogwai songs in the early days. The guitar lines get more complex and build up in intensity and the darkness contrasts with the sudden addition of bright chimes and a heavy wall of sound is constructed from guitar feedback and noise. "I am Not Batman" is a track that was released on a multi-artist compilation cassette that was given away free at the Ten Day Festival in Glasgow, Scotland in 1996. This one begins with a guitar drone that softens to allow a bass and guitar line to come in with the minimalistic vocals. Noises emerge from the drone generated from guitars as a pulsating drum and simple bass line stand out above the drone.

"Tuner" is one side of the band's debut single (the B-side "Lower" is not included on this collection). It starts out in a minimal fashion with tapping drums, bass and soft, barely discernible vocals. The song doesn't develop past this minimal sound. The version on this collection is a re-recording of the original single version. "Ithica 27:9" is the other half of the "Summer" single which was the first track on this collection. It builds from a soft beginning based off of a melody created from repeating notes. A sudden extreme increase in tempo and heaviness turn this into a wall of distorted noise before it suddenly settles back to the main theme again and then it fades on the last note.

"A Place for Parks" was included on a free multi-artist compilation given away at the Camden Crawl II show in England in 1996. It is a more simple guitar melody with some barely discernible spoken word and a soft base of bass and drums. "Helicon 1" is the other half of the "Helicon 2" single. This track has been used in several TV shows and movie previews. It fades in off of a descending 3 note guitar riff and layers build on top of this with a slow, almost march style drum pattern. After a few minutes, there is a sudden increase in intensity, the 3 note melody continues against a loud background. Later, the wall of noise drops and the track continues in a soft bass rift and the continuing guitar melody playing quietly and then fading out. "End" is the last track and is simply "Helicon 2" played backwards.

This is a rather short compilation at only 34 minutes total, and it is also mostly a study in extremes going from minimalist to a heavy wall of noise in a split second. The production is questionable, as should be expected from a collection of mostly singles and previously rare tracks. This was Mogwai experimenting with their sound in the beginning of their career. Of course things would get much better as the band continued on their path to become one of the most popular and innovative post rock bands that would influence the genre immensely. They would go on to become quite influential, along with Tortoise and Godspeed You! Black Emperor in the post rock world. This album, however, is probably more suited for the fans, and is definitely not a good entry point for those interested in exploring the band's sound. The music is quite rough sounding and abrupt, not really the sound that the casual listener would equate to Mogwai's later music.

 Rock Action by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.42 | 80 ratings

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Rock Action
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

2 stars Since I'm quite a big fan of post rock in general, I was quite interested in listening to Mogwai, given that they are one of the bigger bands in the genre, so I thought I'd be getting some really interesting, powerful songs here. What I find this album to be instead is quite dull, dreary and overall underwhelming. The big issue I have with it is that it is somewhere between the two main kinds of post rock I'm familiar with, the dreamy, beautiful soudscapes of bands like Sigur Ros, and the building, thunderous crescendos of GY!BE and This Will Destroy You, instead causing it to feel uneventful without being beautiful enough to make it interesting in that fashion. This is the first album I've heard by the band, but I have been attentively listening many times over the last couple of weeks to gain a decent understanding in order to review this fairly.

The first big issue I have with the album is actually the vocals, not the vocalist, who sounds fine, but the existence of the vocals themselves. I find that it does cause the songs to sound more dull and less expressive, which while parts of the album have some wonderfully intense backing instrumentals, the majority of the attention is drawn towards the quiet, monotone, dreary vocals, removing a lot of the emotional power that good post rock contains, instead making it sound more like an indie rock track. Another problem is the fact that some of these songs really don't do enough, taking the sound of the crescendo based post rock bands without actually crescendoing, leading to some noticeable blandness in certain tracks, especially the 9 minute Two Rights Make One Wrong. One final issue, although a less egregious one is the interludes, which both add very little to the album, but don't detract too much either.

Despite these complaints, there are definitely still some positives to this album. For one, it can really capture a mood, as this album manages to be really depressing in ways that don't feel overdramatic or false, everything here does manage to convey a feeling of emptiness quite well, it's just that the music can sometimes suffer because of this. Despite the album being filled with tracks that other than general tone, I really don';t care about, the first 2proper songs are exceptional, and the 3rd is interesting in a particular way. Sine Wave shows a lot of promise, nicely balancing some electronic elements with a gradual increase in intensity, making for a standard, yet no less awesome post rock track that hits all the right notes for me. Take Me Somewhere Nice is however undoubtedly the highlight of this album for me, being deeply melancholic, each note hitting hard emotionally as it slowly flows through its 7 minute run time, being utterly beautiful the entire way through. Dial : Revenge, while not necessarily a song I enjoy all that much, is interesting for how close to a Damon Albarn song it sounds, with the vocals sounding incredibly similar, albeit in another language.

Overall, I feel quite disappointed in this album, finding it to lack many of the qualities in which I find to make post rock great, while adding nothing particularly special to the mix, leading to a mostly safe album that doesn't quite hit many mark. I'm going to check the previous 2 albums by the band to see if anything is different with those, as there are some hints of greatness mixed amongst the boredom, but it's jst not quite enough for me to enjoy this album once those first 2 great tracks have finished. Overall, I'd recommend many post rock albums before touching this one, such as the first 2 GY!BE albums, Agaetis Byrjun by Sigur Ros, and even some Magyar Posse for a very similar sound in certain respects, while also reaching much greater heights.

Best songs: Sine Wave, Take Me Somewhere Nice

Weakest songs: Secret Pint, You Don'T Know Jesus, Two Rights Make One Wrong

Verdict: I just find the majority of this album very bland and uninventive, but also do admit that they are excellent at capturing a particular mood, it's just a shame that they don't explore that more, and meander quite a lot.

 Batcat by MOGWAI album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2008
2.23 | 3 ratings

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Batcat
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

2 stars 'Batcat' is the 9th EP by Mogwai, released just before the 'Hawk is Howling' album in September of 2008. It contains 3 songs 2 of which are original to this recording and the title track which is just slightly different than the version on the EP.

'Batcat', the song, is a heavy mid-tempo instrumental revolving around a guitar riff. It is an interesting, yet pretty standard post rock fare, but it remains heavy throughout except for a short break in the middle. When the heaviness returns, it is even more intense with and based around a different riff.

'Stupid Prick Gets Chased By the Police and Loses His Slut Girlfriend' is another track just over 5 minutes. This track with a kooky title starts out mellower with jangly guitars and chords played in octaves by a keyboard. A rhythmic percussion pattern repeats itself eventually. This track has a smoother flow than the last one and is quite a nice instrumental. A long sustained chord ends the track.

'Devil Rides' actually contains lyrics and vocals by Roky Erickson from the psychedelic band '13th Floor Elevators'. This starts with a peaceful guitar and slow beat. A lot of Mogwai songs with vocals are usually very subdued, but this is not the case here. The lyrics are easy to understand and at the front of the mix, with Rory's distinctive vocals. This is a nice slow song.

Even though these tracks are decent, there really is nothing outstanding about it, they are pretty much standard post rock songs that sound similar to the material in 'Hawk is Howling'. Mogwai fans will want to have it, but other than that, there is no reason to pay a high price to get the original songs that are on it. 'Devil Rides' is also available on 'Central Belters' which is a 3 CD compilation album. This gets 2 stars only because it is so short and 2 of the 3 songs are available elsewhere.

 A Wrenched Virile Lore by MOGWAI album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
2.19 | 7 ratings

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A Wrenched Virile Lore
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

2 stars Most of the songs from "Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will" are given the remix treatment on this album. I say most because, even though it has the same amount of tracks as the original album, "Rano Pano" appears twice with different remixes. "You're Lionel Richie" is the track that is not remixed on this album. "Hardcore..." is an excellent album and one of my favorites by Mogwai, so obviously I was interested in this remix album. The problem is, the remixes just don't hold up to the originals.

This collection tries to keep the more upbeat feeling of the original album by making the remixes stay bright and upbeat. But I feel it makes them weak. The emotion and beauty from the originals are mostly all washed out. The collection starts out well enough with a very good and spacey remix of "George Square Thatcher Death Party" and it gives hope to the rest of the album. The first "Rano Pano" remix is next, but has been "electronified" (yes I probably made that word up). It's okay, but not near as good as the original. "White Noise" becomes very weak, "How to Be a Werewolf" is turned into a disco rave song with no emotion whatsoever, and "Letters to the Metro" sounds like a cheap imitation of Vangelis. The strange thing is this remix is done by a band named "Zombi" who has toured with "Don Callabero", "These Arms Are Snakes", "Red Sparrowes" and "Isis". I don't know, but I would think with being an opening act for these excellent bands, that they must sound a lot different than they do on this remix, and they definitely didn't manipulate the source material in an original manner in this case.

By now, we are up to track 6, and there isn't much hope now that we're half way though the tracks. It's going to take a miracle to turn this remix album around. Things do get a little better because for the most part, we lost the annoying beats from previously as it tends to get quieter on the 2nd half. "Mexican Grand Prix" is remixed next and is mostly acoustic with soft vocals. There are some treated electronics thrown in more for sound effects that don't take away from the feeling. This is a relief from the long tracks previously that had mostly continuous beats, but it's nothing real special, just kind of nice. The second remix of "Rano Pano" follows, and while it's atmospheric and the tension builds as it moves along, it's pretty boring. "San Pedro" is a decent remix, but it's short (under 4 minutes) and also done by a post punk band called "The Soft Moon", so you expect some respect to the material and they pull it off well. "Too Raging to Cheers" is a personal favorite from the band, and it is given a more ambient rave feel which doesn't do the source material justice. "La Morte Blanche" is the longest track at over 13 minutes and is a remix that uses both "Death Rays" and "White Noise" as source material. This track, like the first track is also a great remix, with a very excellent study in dynamics. Interestingly enough, these tracks are mixed by two different members from "Godflesh". These are the best remixes on the collection. But unfortunately, they don't save the album enough. And in the end, the album doesn't measure up to the original album and in some cases, bring it down.

You don't really need to bother with the entire collection and if you can, just download the Godflesh remixes and The Soft Moon Remix. The others aren't worth the trouble. 2 stars.

 Every Country's Sun by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.24 | 28 ratings

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Every Country's Sun
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Lewian

3 stars I like Mogwai and therefore I like this album, although it is just another Mogwai album, nothing spectacular. Mostly instrumental thick sounding postrock with quite a bit of distortion and noise at times; straight rhythms and simple but characteristic melodic and harmonic lines, as we know of them. The album starts very promising. "Coolverine" is very confident, calm and tasteful and boasts one of Mogwai's simple but unique addictive melody lines. "Party in the Dark" has vocals. I don't know who is singing but as you'd expect from a postrock band, it's not a top notch singer. However, the voices fit the sound of the song very well and again the melody is a winner. A nice little not too sophisticated song. "Brain Sweeties" is rather slow and atmospheric, an OK track but not quite as addictive as the first two. I don't find "Crossing the Road Material" that attractive; it has a Mogwai-typical dynamic, starting off very laid-back and then becomes louder and noisier, although the end is again totally calm. "aka 47" is the most meditative relaxing track, beautiful. "20 Size" is another "Mogwai by numbers" track, it has the typical sound and dynamic, but nothing remarkable. "1000 Foot Face" again has voices; this time the track is of the meditative variety. Once more the voices fit the sound well but once more this is nothing outstanding. After a run of not particularly remarkable tracks Mogwai are back at their best with "Don't Believe the Fife". This time the contrast between the very pastoral and calm beginning and the powerful end is strongest, and the melody is one of those I want to hear again and again without knowing why. "Battered at a Scramble" has another very strong contrast between calm beginning and more powerful end. I think the guitar distortion is overdone in this one, already in the beginning. Later there's a thick wall of sound, but of the less attractive variety. "Old Poisons" is a more powerful track and the distorted guitars make much more sense to me here. It's a rather noisy affair but follows a clear logic. Some headbanging maybe? The title track is the last one, another Mogwai-trademark slow build up and then the noise kicks in step by step. I can see why they picked this as the final, it works in this place but isn't overall very special in Mogwai's universe.

So this is a mixed bag quality-wise, a few tracks are very good, the majority is OK but stuff that we have heard lots of times from this band before. There's enough diversity on this album at least to make it a pleasant enough listen.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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