Mogwai – Rave Tapes

Ever since their 1997 debut Mogwai Young Team, the Scottish post-rock group Mogwai have established themselves as post-rock royalty along with the likes of Mono and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, yet somehow I’ve managed to avoid them entirely until I was tasked with reviewing their 8th record, Rave Tapes.

For a moment, the first track “Heard About You Last Night” made me wish I’d found them sooner. It leads in the record with plenty of evocative potential, making use of sleepy keyboards and crisp, sparse guitars that almost sound like latter-day Earth submerged deep underwater. However, its atmospheric promises ultimately fall through as the album runs its course— tracks like “Simon Ferocious” and “Master Card” are flat-out boring, with the former trudging through a bewildering keyboard non-melody and the latter sliding into a plodding Sub Pop alt-rock groove that sounds like a reheated Pavement leftover. The final two tracks, “No Medicine For Regret” and “The Lord is Out of Control” similarly suffer from a total lack of momentum.

That’s not to say there aren’t nuggets of greatness nestled in Rave Tapes that break up the monotony—the darkly cinematic “Remurdered” pulses with sparse, driving percussion and eerie keys, and “Hexon Bogon” manages to hearken back to the shimmering post-rock panache of yore in a succinct two and a half minutes. Alas, despite these compelling moments, plod ultimately reigns supreme on Rave Tapes.