“Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will” – Mogwai (Joint Review)
My counterpart and I are both big fans of Mogwai, and I think they have probably influenced our music tastes as much as any other band. Their 5th album, ‘Mr. Beast’ is one of my favourite albums of all time and in my opinion they have yet to make an average album.
This was one of my most anticipated albums last year, and after hearing the first single Rano Pano, I was even more eagerly awaiting the release of ‘Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will’. With their 7th studio album Mogwai have made a characteristically expansive album, that pulls back on the piano and features a surge of strangled guitars.
There’s an interesting feel to Mogwai’s 7th studio album, ‘HWND,BYW’, it’s expansive and is what you would expect from a band such as Mogwai, but what I didn’t expect was the strangled nature of the music. Yes, that is a contradiction, but listen to the album and you may hear what I’m talking about. There’s an inner core to these tracks that is trying to burst out into the outer expanse, but it rarely does.
Not only does this effect give the music an extra edge, it also allows you to be lost in the music. I found myself drifting in and out of different parts of the music and especially when I found myself listening intently to the guitars, it gave me a sense that the music was all around me, yet I was still able to listen to the more intricate parts of the music as if it was a separate song. Its a weird feeling, but what makes this album so good, is that it allows you to drift in and out of the music without ever really losing interest in it. And a lot of this is due the brilliant mixing.
On somewhat of a side note, the title is of some interest as well. Incredibly clever and accompanying artwork is brilliant.
‘San Pedro’ is one the more “generic” songs on the album and while it’s a great song, it probably doesn’t catch a hold of me as much, though if you’re new to Mogwai it may be a good starting point, especially if you don’t want to listen through their whole back catalogue (I would recommend doing so though).
‘HWND,BYW’ also adds in some tracks that are heavily beat driven, ‘Mexican Gran Prix’ and ‘George Square Thatcher Death Party’ both are back by an almost electronic beat, something that I found refreshing and a little unexpected.
My favourite track though is ‘You’re Lionel Ritchie’, it’s a slow builder, but when it rises it’s heavy as. And I mean HEAVY. It’s definitely one Mogwai’s best ever tracks, it hits you like a sledgehammer (in a good way).
Overall, I love ’HWND,BYW’. It’s one of their best albums, and is definitely a step up from ‘The Hawk Is Howling’. I think I may have already found a gem for 2011, it could be a very good year for music. Or at least here’s hoping.
Reviewers Pick: “You’re Lionel Ritchie”
Stand-out Tracks: “Rano Pano”, “How To Be A Werewolf”, “Mexican Gran Prix”, “You’re Lionel Ritchie”