Mogwai are a seemingly enduring force – for the last nineteen, going on twenty years, they’ve never failed to capture the imagination of the critics and enjoy a kinship just on the edge of the mainstream with a reputation that rarely seems to take any sort of battering – a rare thing to say about any one band. I still kick myself for taking ages to get into them, but that’s the price you pay for being a slightly ignorant metalhead in your youth, isn’t it? But I’m having a blast going back through their history at present, which is shelved for the time being owing to the release of another new release for the Scots, their eighth studio album ‘Rave Tapes’. It’s a further departure away from the quiet-loud approach of old, with more elements of their recent work starting to creep in (particularly from their ‘Les Revenents’ soundtrack), and more and more they’re letting songs develop in a meandering, and often dark fashion. They still bludgeon when they feel like it – ‘Hexon Bogon’ and ‘Master Card’ are two relatively standard if pleasing, keyboard-painted riffers – but the real majesty comes from their continuing experimental approach, evident on the spoken word ‘Repelish’, which features a man discussing Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’, and ‘The Lord Is Out of Control’, a vocoder drenched closer holding a brooding emotional sway of the listener. ‘Blues Hour’, while nothing new, is perhaps the album’s most emotive track, the only conventional vocal – a hushed one at that, it builds superbly, before quietly ushering to a close; just as Mogwai have proved masters of doing time and again. Like the eyes that glow in the shadows, with ‘Rave Tapes’, Mogwai continue to watch over their existence in effective and typical, if ever more austere fashion.
Mogwai – The Lord is Out of Control (official video)
Buy ‘Rave Tapes‘ here