Review: Mogwai – Rave Tapes
Published on January 15th, 2014 | Jonny Abrams
The subtle renovation of Mogwai’s sound from album to album may not be immediately noticeable, but listen to their eighth album Rave Tapes back-to-back with 1997 debut Young Team and you may find yourself enlightened.
Soundtracks for Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait and Les Revenants notwithstanding, Mogwai’s discography charts a more or less linear progression up to and including 2011’s Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will.
Rave Tapes however comes back around and suggests itself as a kindred spirit of 2003’s Happy Songs for Happy People (at least the louder moments thereof) and 2006’s Mr Beast, passing on the Motorik explorations of their last two studio LPs and focusing on the towering sonic infernos of their second nature.
“Heard About You Last Night” (great title!) eases you in gently, loping along gracefully with suggestions of dream state wafting off of it, before “Simon Ferocious” buzzes mightily into a benevolent skyscraper of sound, propelled along by Martin Bulloch’s firecracker drum fills.
Proceedings take an immediate turn for the darker on “Remurdered”, the plinky plonky synth of which might sound cartoonish were it not wrapped up in Mogwai’s particular brand of foreboding, while “Hexon Bogon” trudges monstrously and soars portentously in a manner applicable to any Mogwai album bar Come On Die Young.
The mood is now set for the remainder of Rave Tapes, allowing those subtle alterations to come to their fore-of-sorts: some bloke talks about Satanic messages concealed in songs over the top of “Repelish”, jagged staccato swipes of distortion flare up into more of that portentousness on “Master Card”, and “Deesh” pummels mournfully before descending into a flurry of chattering feedback.
“Blues Hour” provides the one lead vocal on Rave Tapes, gently draped atop chiming piano and rising flames of distortion, leaving it to the also-splendidly-titled pair of “No Medicine for Regret” and “The Lord is Out of Control” to see us on our way back out the other end of this marvellous band’s latest tempest.
Just another great Mogwai album, really.
Rave Tapes will be released January 20th on Rock Action Records.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!