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Post Rock/Math rock • United Kingdom

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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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Pias America 2018
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Chemikal Underground 2014
$205.00 (used)
Rave TapesRave Tapes
Sub Pop Records 2014
$3.41 (used)
Every Country's SunEvery Country's Sun
$5.99 (used)
Hardcore Will Never Die, But You WillHardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
Sub Pop Records 2011
$2.10 (used)
Pias America 2018
$24.90 (used)
Les RevenantsLes Revenants
Rock Action 2013
$73.55 (used)
$6.94 (used)
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MOGWAI discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.54 | 110 ratings
Young Team
3.43 | 7 ratings
Kicking A Dead Pig - Mogwai Songs Remixed
2.89 | 69 ratings
Come On Die Young
3.41 | 77 ratings
Rock Action
3.91 | 184 ratings
Happy Songs For Happy People
3.71 | 107 ratings
Mr. Beast
3.33 | 38 ratings
Zidane - A 21st Century Portrait (OST)
3.77 | 94 ratings
The Hawk Is Howling
3.80 | 135 ratings
Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
3.75 | 29 ratings
Les Revenants (OST)
3.25 | 51 ratings
Rave Tapes
3.52 | 23 ratings
Atomic (OST)
3.23 | 26 ratings
Every Country's Sun
3.91 | 11 ratings
Kin (OST)

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

3.90 | 20 ratings
Special Moves
3.50 | 4 ratings
iTunes Festival: London 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)
3.62 | 15 ratings
Government Commissions: BBC Sessions 1996-2003
2.19 | 7 ratings
A Wrenched Virile Lore
3.83 | 6 ratings
Central Belters

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
3.80 | 6 ratings
4 Satin
2.60 | 5 ratings
No Education = No Future (Fuck the Curfew)
3.90 | 13 ratings
3.43 | 16 ratings
My Father, My King
0.00 | 0 ratings
Travels in Constants, Vol. 12
0.00 | 0 ratings
Travel is Dangerous
3.08 | 5 ratings
Friend Of The Night
2.23 | 3 ratings
3.30 | 11 ratings
Earth Division

MOGWAI Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Young Team by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.54 | 110 ratings

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

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

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

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
3.41 | 77 ratings

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

Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

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

A Wrenched Virile Lore
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

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
3.23 | 26 ratings

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.

 Rave Tapes by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.25 | 51 ratings

Rave Tapes
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Lewian

3 stars There are some albums which are very good for me, but which I don't think I'd rate that highly as a critic. This is one of them. I personally love it and for me alone it would be 4 stars if not more. However, the things I like about this album are hard to explain and very irrational. Some tunes, sounds and rhythms get close to the heart and some don't, for mysterious reasons, in a highly individual manner. It's always an impressive experience how far one person's taste in these respects can be different from another one's, while about a number of more "rational", explainable criteria they could agree.

This album speaks to me in this very individual way, it gives me some kind of "coming home" feeling with its somewhat melancholic but still forward driving, peaceful but also powerful songs. The tunes just work for me. Then, there isn't much innovation on this one and hardly anything that I could explain that'd make it stand out from other Mogwai albums. It's mostly instrumental, not very eventful, mostly rather keyboard- than guitar-driven, with loud drums and the mix of heaviness and relaxedness that is characteristic for Mogwai. It could easily be discarded as "nothing special" except it is something special for me for I don't know what reason. The magic of music ("No medicine for regret" is the number one example for me but most of the others also work well). The most postive thing I can say is that Mogwai just do what they're good at, in a mature and confident fashion. Mogwai do Mogwai, and they do it well.

 Young Team by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.54 | 110 ratings

Young Team
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars After the wild and eclectic debut EP "4 Satin," the Scottish post-rock band MOGWAI (means "evil spirit" in Cantonese) wasted no time releasing their first official full length album MOGWAI YOUNG TEAM just a few months later, however in that short time the band learned how to find a more cohesive sound that has become more focused than the wild palette of motifs heard on the EP. What we get here is a nice mellow kind of post-rock that mostly consists of guitar, bass and drums and just like a little music box has repetitive loops of sound that in some cases ratchet up the tension past the ten minute mark ("Little Herod," "Mogwai Fear Satan"). Unlike the more elaborate themes of post-rock contemporaries like Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Tortoise or Sigur Rós that tend to add sonic layers upon each other, MOGWAI opts for the simpler route only taking that road a few times on the longer tracks. If i had to compare them with another band's approach i would have to say they remind me a bit more of Australia's Dirty Three or even a Godspeed! without the bells and whistles.

While the guitar, bass and drum trio of instruments are the backbone of MOGWAI's sound, there are also inclusions of other instruments scattered throughout the album. There is a glockenspiel on "Tracy," a piano on "Radar Maker," "With Portfolio," "A Cheery Wave Of Stranded Youngster" and we also get some flute on "Mogwai Fear Satan." Despite the different sounds coming in and out the emphasis is focused on the looping of themes which usually build momentum on the softer side of the sound spectrum and then can suddenly explode into a raucous cacophonous frenzy. While most of the tracks stick to this formula and are similar in timbre, song structure and mood, there are some strange beasts on board here as well. "With Portfolio" is a bizarre little track that utilizes some seriously heavy use of distortion and effects. Although it begins with an innocent piano riff it soon is joined in by some serious Krautrock-esque type of electronic embellishments that eventually gain control and take the listener on the most tripped out track on the album.

However for the most part is definatley a post-rock band and MOGWAI does stick to the parameters of how song structures are laid out and all but the band still manages to separate their enough from the post-rock scene in general. It is a mostly instrumental album but there are a few tracks that have spoken words and "R U Still in 2 It" has guest vocals from Aidan Moffat of Arab Strap. MOGWAI YOUNG TEAM is a great debut album by the band that manages to keep the tracks similar enough for the most part to have a cohesive feel to the whole thing but yet has enough diverse elements that prevent it from becoming boring in any way. Nice sounds, nice songs and nice feel to the whole thing. This is where i began my MOGWAI journey and have been loving their albums that follow.

 Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.80 | 135 ratings

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

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This has to be Mogwai's best output to date in my opinion. Even though I have enjoyed most every thing the band has done, this album is so full of drama, emotion and dynamic beauty that it out does everything else that the band has done so far, and that should be expected from a truly progressive band. While it is true that the album leans somewhat to the alternative side more than other albums, it still keeps it's post rock edge and merges the two sounds quite well. The album is more up beat than a lot of their albums with more fast tempo tracks than normal with a steady beat, hence the feeling of being more straightforward than in the past, but the heavy guitar is still there giving the fans the post rock sound they love and cementing the bands position as post rock leaders. There is very little reliance on the use of post rock formulas of soft-crescendo-climax and more of a rock-oriented feel. There is still the use of electronics as there has been in the most recent albums, but there is also more of a return to post-rock guitar sensibilities without resorting to the predictable formula. It's quite an amazing mix.

Most of the songs are surprisingly upbeat with a consistent tempo. There are a few beautiful slower tracks like "Letters to the Metro" and "Too Raging to Cheers" that are extraordinarily emotional and lovely tracks. It's also quite nice to hear the band not rely on so many mid-tempo tracks here too, but when they do, the sound is not as worn out by the time you get to the end of the album, in fact, you come to the end of the album and want more. By the way, if you get the Japanese version, you get 2 more excellent bonus tracks. There is also a special edition of the album that has a 2nd disc that contains the 23 minute epic track "Music for a Forgotten Future (The Singing Mountain)" which is well worth seeking.

Even with the alternative influence here, this is a very strong album. Some may not consider it progressive because of the more consistent tempos of the songs, but in my opinion, it still stays true to the progressive genre in that it very successfully merges the genres and stays true to the post-rock sound ending up with a better overall album in the end. Most people seem to consider "Happy Music for Happy People" their favorite album and the band's highlight, but, even though I love that album, this one is so much more dramatic and varied, with less reliance on the old predictable formulas. It also contains one of my favorite tracks, the very expressive and progressive piece "Too Raging to Cheers" which I cannot say enough about. What an amazing track...I only wish it was longer. I can't help but give this album less than 5 stars, because in my mind, it is a masterpiece and one that should be considered a high standard for any post-rock band to reach. It's up there with the great post-rock albums including "F#A (infinity)" by GY!BE and "Ágćtis Byrjun" by Sigur Ros. 5 brilliant stars.

 Happy Songs For Happy People by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.91 | 184 ratings

Happy Songs For Happy People
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

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.

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

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