[sic] Magazine

Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

Album umpteen for the Scottish art noise terrorists, and the once again, impeccably titled Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will , proves – if nothing else Mogwai write the best titles in the business. Any album with a song entitled ‘George Square Thatcher Death Party’ makes quite clear what side of the political fence they straddle. For such an inventive linguistic approach, Mogwai are, aside from that, a curiously silent group in many ways: cover art is never iconic, merely a wrapper in which the music is delivered. For this album, the cover is a blue cityscape, lyrics are quietly excised from most if not all songs, and the shimmering, barely-detectable musical glide that forms a core of their work is dispensed in favour of an altogether more muscular musical language.

Possibly taking a cue from last year’s excellent Special Moves / Burning live set, the glacial ice of restraint – for Mogwai standards – has been removed. We’re hardly talking Slayer here: but songs constructed of relatively recognisable elements such as verse, chorus, bridge, refrain, and rhythms that move forward from the opening bars of ‘White Noise’ to the final, more atypical ‘Music From A Forgotten Future’, it’s clear there’s a journey here: Mogwai never content to rest on their laurels, repeat themselves, going to some new destination. Whilst some of the songs see them fall into their trademarks sound of ascending/descending chords and cacophonous drums – ‘Rano Pano’ – others, such as ‘Letters To The Metro’ and ‘Mexican Grand Prix’ for example, are the nearest Mogwai will probably ever come to a hit, with conventional 4/4 time scales, that – almost – but not quite resemble conventional rock.

All is not lost: by the time of the grand finale – the 23 minute soundtrack to an art piece by the sound of it – Mogwai are back in familiar, meditative territory. Few bands – only Sigur Ros and early Pink Floyd – create a similar atmosphere for me, where the mind wanders, and I become lost in an otherworld environment of thought and idea, where time itself travels at a different speed, my muse is exploring a world that never exists except in my imagination. Maybe that is what Mogwai are best at: soundtracks to the imagination.



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