Mogwai -‘Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will’ (Rock Action)
Fifteen years into their career, every Mogwai album still feels like An Event. Their debut LP, Mogwai Young Team, set the bar so high fourteen (!) years ago, but it is to their credit that they have never copied a very successful formula on successive albums, with the inevitable diminishing of returns that aesthetically, if not commercially, that that would have lead to.
On this, their seventh album, Mogwai still feel, reassuringly, that they are the missing link between Slayer and Sigur Ros. In their own inimitable style, they continue to mine new territory that is unquestionably their own, and no-one else’s. There’s a noticeable krautrock influence that’s detectable on tracks ‘White Noise’ and ‘Rano Pano’ which I don’t recall hearing on a Mogwai album before.
Mogwai are -rightly- perceived as an instrumental act. However, they have used guest vocalists in the past – including then labelmate Arab Strap’s Aidan Moffat on Mogwai Young Team and Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys on Rock Action (on ‘Dial:Revenge.’ Singing in Welsh, natch.) On Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, on the rather excellent ‘Mexican Grand Prix’ come from courtesy of Luke Sutherland, cult scottish musician (Bows, Long Fin Kllie) and author (Jelly Roll, Sweetmeat), who also contributes guitar and violin to the abum. As ever, the titles convey a fair amount of humour (‘You’re Lionel Richie’) and Politics (‘George Square Thatcher Death Party.’) There are beautiful refelctive parts on the album, and of course, one absolutely, shredding, eardrum-bursting track, the closing and aforementioned ‘You’re Lionel Richie.’
The late, great John Peel -who also championed Mogwai -used to say that they were always different and always The Fall. that’s how I feel about Mogwai. On their seventh album they still sound like the band I love, and are still going to new places. A band that I would feel confident to buy an album that bore their name, without having heard a note of it.
Long may they run.
Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will is released on Rock Action on February 14 in the UK and Sub Pop in the US on February 15.
Until Tuesday you can also stream the album at Rolling Stone