Alternative music reviews

Mogwai

Happy Songs For Happy People June 2003

Losing some of the sonic overload they were known for, Mogwai add more sensitivity and musical proficiency to their mainly instrumental mix. It may not appeal as much to the hardcore fan of say, Young Team or Kicking A Dead Pig, but you could never take that approach further without jst retreading old glories. Maybe Mogwai are getting older or maybe they just feel a bit happy - either way they have produced an album bursting with melody and magnificent control of structures of sound.

The glissando guitar on Hunted By A Freak and the hint of vocals that I found myself wanting to put words to, sets the scene as atmospheric and tuneful.Moses? I Amn't has an air of Tuxedo Moon or Black Heart Procession to it and is unsettling without being harsh. Ratts Of The Capital clocks in at over 8 minutes and builds from a slow motif to a crescendo of guitar noise and feedback before fading into quiet meanderings to allow you relax and get your breath back. I Know You Are But What Am I? is the most delightfully simple piano base with variation provided by a beat box and other electronic sounds - can you remember the music to the film American Beauty, it is like that, fat with atmosphere and a touch of menace.

I'm really more a fan of The Song rather than of pieces of music but Mogwai manage to create music that has the same emotional impact and melodic yearnings as some of the great guitar-based songsmiths such as Sonic Youth. Okay, there are some tracks I feel are just fillers but it's much more chilled and more subtle than earlier releases and adds to a fine collection of unique soundscapes that most bands can only dream of creating.


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