Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
It's been three years since Mogwai released 'The Hawk Is Howling', which has given everybody plenty of time to grow that disgusting looking post-rock facial hair. 'Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will' is the bands seventh studio album which has yet another elegantly intelligent title and is about to bring post-rock smashing into 2011. Mogwai may be best remembered from past albums for their full frontal force, but this album, much like the last, starts with a blissfully sombre tone. Much like 'I'm Jim Morrison. I'm Dead', 'White Lies' is a thing of retrospective beauty and works perfectly to set the mood for what is about to follow. 'Mexican Grand Prix' is another perfect example of Mogwai's selective use of vocals. The songs main riff is played on an organ, which almost completely hides the quiet and vulnerable male vocals. The track is simple enough in structure, but it is made memorable by the cymbal crashes and hi-hat rides of Martin Bulloch. Heavier duties are resumed on 'Rano Pano'. It's grinding guitars scream feedback to the point of bloody ears. Along with its heavy bass it feels like a song written of Mogwai's origins. As does 'George Square Thatcher Death Party'. It one again uses vocals and once again they're distorted to hell (heaven?). And with its cavernous bass line and break neck drum fills, it sounds like it was just lifted from 'Young Team'. With those two songs the sound was reminiscent of past albums and that's great, but 'Death Rays' has got lazy written all over it. On the first play it sounds vast and breathtaking yet strangely familiar. As you listen again it's almost as if you are listening to 'Mr. Beast'. 'Death Rays' is just a reworking of 'Auto-Rock' with piano substituted for synth and the volumes of the guitars turned up a little and due to that it leaves and empty feeling. 'San Pedro'. Oh, San Pedro! This is the highlight of the album and is everything you could want from a Mogwai track. It's a riffing powerhouse and it's a huge pity that it wasn't worked into something a little closer to the ten minute mark in length. Sending chills down your spine is something these guys have proven very good at in the past and 'Too Raging To Cheers' can be put down as meeting this criteria also. Eerily haunting strings and cathedral organ emanate throughout the track with drums that drive it to its climactic 'chorus'. Then as quickly as this album began, 'You're Lionel Richie' (as well has having the most amusing name of the tracks) brings us to its end. And what an end. The now often used French vocal sample is utilised brilliantly at the track's opening, while the overall structure isn't overly dissimilar to that of 'Like Herod', possibly Mogwai's greatest achievement thus far. The two tracks employ the adept guitar skills of Stuart Braithwaite superbly and they both have a crescendo that will make you drop a load. Although it's lacking the overall power of 'Young Team' and, in its entirety it is not as breathtaking as 'The Hawk Is Howling', this album isn't going to leave fans disappointed, but it is sure to leave many very surprised at just what has been created. On the other hand it may be like every other Mogwai album, a slow burner. So come back to me in a week or so and I'll tell you it's the best way you can spend fifty minutes of your life.