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Mogwai's "Rave Tape" Reviewed

This is Mogwai, what do you choose?

























What do you call a band that in theory are one of your favorites but in practise every time you listen to them you are hungry to hear a real band after? You call them Mogwai.  Nineteen years in and meet the Scottish instrumental band Mogwai’s latest effort Rave Tapes, the same as their last effort and their next effort. 48 minutes of lovely rolling sounds and beats, here a bit more electronically inclined.

You listen to Mogwai, you feel intellectually satisfied, you enjoy it, grade it, and move on never to listen to it again: it is as memorable as a cloudy morning in April: sit sifts through your consciousness in bubbles of beauty but with nothing to ground it in time and place.

The first song, with its buzzy fuzzy sound, “Heard About You Last Night” is pleasant, very pleasant and “Simon Ferocious” is an amusing misnomer. “Remurdered” introduces acoustic guitar into the proceedings but it is just another sound on the way to morphing into Kraftwerk.

Instrumental music in a pop music setting is so difficult and in the end for all Mogwai’s undoubted gifts they sound like songs that are waiting to be completed. This is crueler than it sounds because when you really pay attention, the sounds make it on a level of sustained beauty, it chimes, it willows, the instruments fuse in electronic splendor and if never reaches the heights of Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will -a huge breakthrough on their seventh album, it doesn’t leave them stranded either. It feels like dance music which forgot to come, like rock songs without the rock and kinda without the songs.

By the time you reach “Replish” you actually get some spoken, something about Stairway To Heaven” and I guess the music has something like the feel of a modern Cabaret Voltaire. It is quite haunting and not bad at all though whatever their point of view may be, they should watch the company they keep.

This is all sort of boring and sort of pretty and I don’t think I’d recognize it again but I like and I guess admire it in some way. Mogwai do what they do, I ignore what I ignore. What do you choose?

Grade: B+

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