With an illustrious 26 years in the game, the Mogwai have sealed one of the most unique mythologies in music history. Between meaningless titles, an irreverent sense of humor and a clear rejection of the traditionalisms of the entertainment industry, the band of Glasgow he created his own artistic universe at the point of exploration and immense audacity. There is an almost mathematical precision in each of his compositions, a pictorial ability to create environments and capture intense and overwhelming sensations.
The ensemble was made up of Stuart Braithwaite, Dominic Aitchinson and Martin Bulloch in 1995. From that point on, the musicians saw the addition of keyboardist Barry Burns in 1998, as well as the in and out of his former bandmates, Brendan O’Hare and John Cummings. Each one contributes an essential piece to this sonic puzzle, which to date has ten albums and has amassed a vast and unpredictable fan following.
One of the great strengths of Mogwai lies in your proposal. With the arrival of their debut in 1997, the then quintet was placed in command of the still dispersed post rock scene, one that distances itself from the most characteristic structures of rock. The group have made their disdain for etiquette evident, motivating them to embark on an imaginative quest to defeat any possible convention. Until today, the intention of what they seek to communicate to us is an unresolved riddle, but one that continues to add new disciples.
In General Court we take the time to review their fascinating catalogue. And considering just their flagship studio albums, we present this piece that ranks them from the least potent offering to the greatest of classics. Here, every position is up for debate, but the truth with Mogwai is that the quality has never been subpar. Each of their works offers a piece of that intangible and mystical universe that only they can conjure up.
10 Rave Tapes
Unfortunately one of the discs had to come out last. But from the opening moments of the late-night march to “Heard About You Last Night,” it’s clear that we’re in for something special. Mogwai adapts nuances of krautrock and ambient to a colorful and melodious tray of songs. Although the second half of the album is somewhat short on fuel, it still offers moments of luminous calm on tracks like “Simon Ferocious,” and sinister tension on others like “Repelish” and “Deesh.” Despite the name that suggests electrifying dynamism, Rave Tapes It is a delicate and majestic collection, which burns over low heat.
9 Every Country’s Sun
The Scots’ ninth bet marks a meeting with Dave Fridmann, producer of the acclaimed Rock Action (2001). At the same time, it is the first material without John Cummings, who left the band in 2015. Every Country’s Sun it suffers from being in a place where previous albums have already been, and with more impressive results, but it’s still uniformly excellent. The minimalist gem of “AKA 47” brings them closer to the enigmatic Boards of Canada, while “Coolverine”, “Party In The Dark” and the title track carry the classic essence of Mogwai anthems in their DNA.
8 Mr Beast
Mogwai’s fifth full-length was released in March 2006 and caused a generational crossover thanks to its notable reference to My Bloody Valentine, since according to Creation Records label head Alan McGee (the man in charge of elevating Oasis, My Bloody Valentine , Primal Scream, among other greats), this album “is probably the best art rock work I’ve ever been involved with. Being even better than Loveless.” And that wasn’t just praise, the band themselves consider this LP to be their best since “Young Team” – which you’ll find below.
7 As the Love Continues
Released only a few months ago, on February 19, 2021, the Scottish tenth is a work created and presented in a context of a global pandemic. The eleven instrumental songs work in counterpoint to sounds that are sometimes assimilated to orchestral performance. The introspective result is accurate and necessary for an unusual lockdown and creates another artistic milestone in Mogwai’s career. As the Love Continues shows an evolution of instincts and ambitions represented in textures that run straight to your brain.
6 Happy Songs for Happy People
The surprise acclaim for Mogwai’s third effort did not guarantee them steady success, and by 2003 the mainstream press seemed to be abandoning them in favor of a postpunk and garage rock revival. The then quintet responded by redesigning their sound in favor of a more accessible and electronic proposal. But Happy Songs for Happy People it is no simple task. The labyrinthine nature of numbers like the innocent “Kids Will Be Skeletons”, the challenging “Ratts Of The Capital” and the gloomy “Hunted By A Freak” keep the difficulty levels Mogwai level. Happy Songs it has a more transitory role in his career, but his legacy has a lasting effect.
5 The Hawk Is Howling
Brash, strong and redeeming, atmospheric, reserved and cool. This is how we describe what Mogwai produces for us in “The Hawk is Howling”, his sixth studio album. And it is not by chance that despite being one of the albums with the least commercial success and the least mentioned in the band’s canon, it is nevertheless one of their most effective efforts to appeal to our sensibilities. Because it is precisely what they produce in us, digging into our emotions and taking us to sensitive planes outside of our routine. They comfort us but at the same time they baffle us. “The Hawk is Howling” is Mogwai’s wildest expression.
4 Hardcore Will Never Die, but You Will
There’s nothing more intense than this 2011 LP, and saying intense when qualifying Mogwai is certainly controversial. Because there is no album by the band that does not attack the deepest sensibilities of our being. “Rano Pano” is an excellent example of that deadly nostalgic comfort; when in a crescendo of riffs we navigate the night city illuminated only by slight artificial spotlights. And without a doubt that is Mogwai’s best weapon: illuminate us with passages that manifest melancholic, familiar and at the same time instrumentally brutal images.
3 Young Team
Their famous debut remains to this day as one of the group’s banners, in which they quickly managed to define their sound identity. Being the first LP in his discography, “Young Team” is charged with a raw energy in which his influences overflow, with reminiscences of sounds from the turn of the century: from Slint to My Bloody Valentine, in an explosive mix of genres that they seem to set up that elusive and unnecessary post-rock label. It is also the genesis of icons like “Mogwai Fear Satan” or “Like Herod”, which continue to be fundamental pieces of his repertoire and inevitably drive the future of his discography. An introspective and sinister session, where fear is instilled and beauty is encouraged.
2 Come On Die Young
Mogwai is effective with very few words that open impeccable sound manifestos. From EPs that form protest titles and T-shirts that appeal to criticism of the state of music at the same time, “Come on Die Young” approaches as an essay on the most powerful and unusual post-rock hits. The Scots give us an ironic play with “Punk Rock”, pointing to the constant effort by the media to pigeonhole bands into a single genre; “Punk Rock” couldn’t be further from being a classically punk song or not? What is interesting and important about this LP is how the different references and fusions that Mogwai imposes on us still feel relevant, even with layers to be deciphered, they still affect us emotionally. “Come on Die Young” is proof that this Mogwai sound melancholy not only expands its own limits at an instrumental level but also its own emotional vocabulary.
1 Rock Action
First place is taken by a key moment in Mogwai’s history; “Rock Action” not only represents a before and after in the band’s sound, but also stands as an energetic and profound satire against “post-rock”; the very title makes a mockery of the album’s content, since the final product is a strange creature that is far from being reduced solely to the limiting label of the album. rock. The inclusion of new styles and instruments –added to the brilliant production of Dave Fridmann– serve to engender a second genesis for the band, because if with “Young Team” they defined Post-Rock (whether they want it or not), in “ Rock Action” manage to define Mogwai. Already 20 years after its launch, emblems such as “You Don’t Know Jesus” or “2 Rights Make 1 Wrong” seem to continue innovating and still maintain their fresh capacity to surprise. Thick notes that are slowly injected into our ears: this is Mogwai, between beauty and gloom.