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coverpic flag Scotland - Full Moon 214 - 02/15/14

Mogwai
Rave Tapes
Rock Action (UK) / Sub Pop (US)

According to Chinese tradition, mogwai are certain demons, which often inflict harm on humans. They are said to reproduce sexually during mating seasons triggered by the coming of rain. Supposedly, they take care to breed at these times because rain signifies rich and full times ahead. Notably, the modern popular use of mogui as 'demonic' and gui as 'devils' is somewhat a consequence of Western influences as Chinese-language biblical texts translate the Satan in the Book of Job and the Greek term 'diabolos' as mogui. (wikipedia.com)

The Glaswegian post-rockers are pushing their 20th year in rock action. Rave Tapes is the quintet's 8th studio album since their fab debut, Mogwai Young Team back in 1997. In addition, they have scored/produced some soundtracks for film and TV, such as the elegant Zidane: a 21st Century Portrait - about the biggest football elegantier of all time: Zinedine Zidane. They performed, along with the Kronos Quartet Clint Mansell's (former singer/guitarist of Pop Will Eat Itself) score for Darren Aronofsky's feature film The Fountain (2006). Last year they did the music score for the French TV series Les Revenants (English: The Returned. It is actually an adaptation of a 2004 French film of the same title. The film's English title was They Came Back) - which is a zombie (sort of), or fantasy/sci-fi series about returning dead people who re-integrate themselves into society. I haven't seen it, but it sounds a bit creepy and spine-chilling (if it works), and it also sounds to be "type-cast" job for Mogwai to create the musical score.

Right. Back to Rave Tapes, then. Or, firstly - for me - back to Mogwai, because I've been a bit on and off their music over the years. Their debut album blew my mind, and it's still a milestone in modern rock (say, post-Nirvana). A few years later (in mid-1999) they almost blew my eardrums off during a gig in Oslo, at the legendary So What! club. However, my tinnitus is not very bad. I can live with it. All that said, I don't blame Mogwai, because Mogwai's rock should be loud. LOUD! Always. I guess it is the combination of Mogwai and a bad venue ('bad' meaning a venue where the premises is not good enough for live music). So, Rave Tapes, then, again. I somehow feel that the Mogwai train pass by and leaves the station, me standing behind at the station platform. And, I am happy with the situation. Maybe we have grown apart. It is not like I am disgusted by their music. It is just that the songs do not stick. Well, some do, but the majority of the 10 tracks just appear to fade away. Their (mainly) instrumental rock has evolved and changed some over the years, but they are still roaming the same plains. A bit more kraut here and there, maybe? A slight touch of 80s synth/keyboard post-punk, even? Mogwai still got their sense of humour (check the intro to "Repelish", with a monologue about the impossibility of 'buying a stairway to heaven', as with in the song by that band, you know).

Well, I am over-satisfied and filled up rather quickly. Sorry, lads, because there are some cool tracks here, such as "Simon Ferocious", "Master Card", and "Remurdered", even though I stumble off the latter after a while. It's been a while since I played Mogwai Young Team. I'd better revisit the album to check if it is possible to re-live the magic from back then.

Copyright © 2014 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Mogwai articles/reviews: 4 Satin EP, Come On Die Young, Mogwai Young Team, Mr. Beast, Mr. Beast, New Paths To Helicon, No Education=No Future (Fuck The Curfew) EP, Zidane: a 21st Century Portrait (Original Soundtrack).

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