Mogwai
Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will


2.0
poor

Review

by Matt Wolfe EMERITUS
January 24th, 2011 | 160 replies | 24,255 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Hardcore may never die, but Mogwai's mortality has never been more evident.

The anger seen in Mogwai's youth may just be the reason for their status as one of post-rock’s most celebrated bands, one of the genre’s top dogs. Their debut album, Young Team, the album that got them and still gets them mounds of praise, attention and new followers, that was an album born from contempt and hatred. Not that that's any secret. The band themselves claimed it to be their worst album, created amongst the turbulent midst of arguments and fist-fights between themselves. In the end it threatened both their relationships with one another and the album that was to be their make-or-break opening statement. But what if it was that, in the heat of these disputes, inspiration erupted? What if those sparks of creativity and originality were spat out by the intense, almost destructive friction between band members? It’s a heat that certainly hasn’t been seen since, and has crept quietly out of the band with each succeeding album. Maybe I’m selfish, but sometimes I wish I could slip a whoopee cushion under Stuart’s chair and blame it on Dom just to get things fired up again.

Thus, with five albums between Young Team and Hardcore Will Never Die, you could be forgiven for predicting a soullessly agreeable affair which ticks all the right post-rock boxes but still comes away sounding disenchanted and limp. And yet no one ever predicts it. Well, at the least they never want to. Myself included. We hope for the resurgence of catharsis and charisma, of immersion and intensity. But what do we get? Another ladling of cold, unsatisfying, glazed-over and over-glazed disappointments. What’s more, and this is a relatively new frustration, Hardcore Will Never Die is hard to enjoy even at a basic level because it appears that Mogwai are now playing behind a wall of glass. It’s not that it’s post-rock-by-numbers, although at times it really is, but more so that it doesn’t even sound like there are painters behind the palette. Lack of vocals are both a challenge and an opportunity to post-rock bands; it’s harder to project a personality onto music without the directness and identifiableness of a human voice and his words, but great post rock can transcend that reliance on vocals if they can trace their inspiration and humanity into the music. This deeply personal sound doubles as a comforting refuge when the same human voice becomes an irritable twang. But it does have to be deeply personal, and inspired: that’s where the warmth naturally rouses from. Hardcore, for the most part, sounds like it was recorded by men thinking about what to add to their shopping lists. What’s exposed is not the painful core of individuality, only the thin film of distraction.

It’s not all bad. There all little pieces here and there that might elicit a smile, and there’s no doubting the second half is stronger than the first. ‘Too Raging to Cheers’ doesn’t exactly reach the raging heights its title sets out for itself, but there is a methodical bludgeoning of instruments towards the end of the track that make you wonder whether the ‘raging’ on show is directed towards their own disappointments. It works, in a weird self-inflicted kind of way. ‘You’re Lionel Richie’ is probably the highlight and is well placed at the end of the record, leaving hope of better things to come. It has that spine-tingling ‘Like Herod’ atmosphere of brutally wait-for-it-wait-for-it suspense, but also, in the swathes of moaning ambience behind the battered instruments, that human touch of frustration amongst longing. Ultimately, though, when tracks like ‘Death Rays’ are ceremonious when they have nothing of worth to celebrate, and singles like ‘Rano Pano’ plod along with all the pace and thrill of a policeman’s pushbike, and songs like ‘Mexican Grand Prix’ are about as exciting as the Grand Prix itself, the highlights are overshadowed and you have to start seeing Mogwai for what they’ve sadly become: no longer angry, inspired, and destined for great things but arrogant, impersonal, and deluded... and increasingly disappointing.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2011


15035 Comments


i listened to 'rano pano' (which has been getting a lot of praise) and i hated it. skipping. reading review right now

Enotron
January 24th 2011


7695 Comments


bummer I wanted this to be awesome

G3N3R1C
January 24th 2011


1945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^That's because it is.

SeaAnemone
January 24th 2011


20284 Comments


oh goddamit

I reeeaaally love this, have my review all written and everything haha

robin
Emeritus
January 24th 2011


4248 Comments


i came around to agreeing with you basically. hey you.

Tyrael
January 24th 2011


20875 Comments


I thought this had to be officially released before you could post a review.

Digging: Darkspace - Dark Space III I

G3N3R1C
January 24th 2011


1945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That entire first paragraph is kinda pretentious btw.

Enotron
January 24th 2011


7695 Comments


That's because it is.


you're saying I wanted it to be awesome because it's awesome?

G3N3R1C
January 24th 2011


1945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sure, let's go with that.

Enotron
January 24th 2011


7695 Comments


http://img155.imageshack.us/i/screenshot20110124at434.png/

p sure thats what you said

SeaAnemone
January 24th 2011


20284 Comments


I love your review sir, and seem to always, but disagree with you on just about every point here.

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
January 24th 2011


862 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

thanks man. the general consensus leans to your p.o.v, so you should def post your review.

G3N3R1C
January 24th 2011


1945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah, to be fair though, the rest of the review is pretty well-written.

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
January 24th 2011


862 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

That entire first paragraph is kinda pretentious btw.

you should read my sound off.

I thought this had to be officially released before you could post a review.

only applies to users and contribs, not staff.

Tyrael
January 24th 2011


20875 Comments


That's kinda unfair huh. Now I'll be waiting in anticipation for SeaAnemone's review...

SeaAnemone
January 24th 2011


20284 Comments


Staff have perks for being staff I dunno not really unfair...

and haha you better not be sucking up to me just because, Tyraelxy


Anyway, back on topic... I sorta get the hate for tracks like "Mexican Grand Prix" that are a little outlandish... but "Rano Pano" and "You're Lionel Richie" are easily two of my favorite Mogwai things ever.

cvlts
January 24th 2011


8955 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

4'd jus cause of the album title

North0House
January 24th 2011


1764 Comments


Ugh, I've listened to this thing, all the way through.
I dislike it. It feels like the same uninspired song all the way through. Bummed about it.
Good review.

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 24th 2011


4459 Comments


never thought much of this band

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
January 24th 2011


23816 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I haven't really been interested in anything these guys have done since Happy Songs..., I'll probably give this a listen but I'm not expecting it to be that good



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