Mogwai
Young Team


4.5
superb

Review

by Ben Thornburgh CONTRIBUTOR (116 Reviews)
November 26th, 2013 | 38 replies | 4,115 views


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: For Tomorrow: A Guide to Contemporary British Music, 1988-2013 (Part 35)

Thing is, I almost didn’t even listen to Young Team. My preferred genre is pop music. I like my hooks clearly telegraphed, I like my songs short, and I like my vocalists high in the mix. Young Team is none of those things. The only post-rock album I’ve ever liked is Ágætis byrjun and I haven’t listened to that in years. So when I first loaded Young Team into my iTunes library, I balked. “There’s a 12 minute song on this and it’s the second longest song on here!” I thought to myself incredulously. My first listen unveiled nothing else of interest, the first song was a bore and the second was actively annoying. I came very close to deleting the album.

The album begins with a girl reading a gloriously over the top article a fan wrote about the bands performances. “If someone said that Mogwai are the stars I would not object,” she reads, barely stifling a laugh, “If the stars had a sound it would sound like this.” By taking the piss out of their own music right off the bat, Mogwai disarms the listener by letting them know their in on the over the top “tears of God” reputation post-rock caries with it. It makes the ensuing album much more human. Spoken dialogue continues to appear to reinforce this idea - a phone call on “Tracy”, the enthusiastic count off beginning “A Cheery Wave From Stranded Youngsters” – all used to remind the listener that this album was crafted by people, people that get parking tickets and get into arguments. Not mythical beings sent from the stars.

The turning point for me came when I started using Young Team as bike fuel. “Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home” stirs with grace and patience. A gently thrumming bassline that remains just forceful enough to keep the songs momentum but not too much to pushes the rowboat from shore while guitar and bells twinkle like the sun off of slow rolling waves. But that only gets me so far, the 18th Street bridge is the bane of my commute, luckily “Yes!” always gets to its epic climax right at the beginning of my ascent, guitarist Stuart Braithwaite comes down on a distortion pedal and the whole song goes rocketing skywards, triggering a surge of adrenaline that levels off in tandem with the song as it comes to rest in the same oasis it started at.

Every song on Young Team is infused with this same sense of patience. These guys are in no hurry to get to the climax of these songs, each has plenty of time to fully work out the crevices of their movements. There is no better example of this than on “Tracy”. At just shy of 8 minutes, “Tracy” moves slowly and methodically. Drummer Martin Bulloch plays like he’s afraid to wake the neighbors, lightly tapping each drum. A simple guitar/glockenspiel melody chimes through the piece, each repetition more beautiful than the last. Then, the melodic refrain cuts out for three minutes of ambient guitar noise, slowly bleeding out as the song comes to a close. Amazingly, this outro doesn’t feel indulgent in the slightest, it allows the band to work out the full span of its melodic ideas; it’s hard to imagine the song without it.

It’s a 30-minute bike ride back from school and with rush hour traffic kicking in around that time it can take longer. Most days, I make it in less than 20 minutes. That’s because I’m listening to “Mogwai Fear Satan” and I’m also actively putting my health in danger by doing so. With it’s pounding, primal drumbeat driving a relentless guitar line, “Mogwai Fear Satan” has me hopping curbs, threading pedestrians, and running red lights with equal parts reckless abandon and giddy thrill. Just as the song reaches what feels like it’s epic climax, the band falls back and a flute is deployed as – just like in My Bloody Valentine’s “What You Want” – aural katana. It slices clean through the mix, rising above the maelstrom with enough authority as to bring a hushed awe to the track. It’s a heart-stoppingly beautiful moment, but it only lingers for an instant as the guitar monstrously wells up again and annihilates it along with the rest of the band. That the flute is reborn once more in final victory out of this wreckage, it makes a claim made much earlier in the album seem much less absurd. If someone said Mogwai were the stars, I would not object.



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user ratings (894)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Matt Wolfe EMERITUS (5)
Still one of the very best records in post rock....

Andrew H. EMERITUS (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2013


1625 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Full series: http://badgersenate.com/

New review every Tuesday and Thursday

Twittuh: https://twitter.com/HolidayKirk
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/ben.thornburgh

YakNips
November 26th 2013


10669 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

greatgreat album

Digging: Ritual Mess - Vile Art

zakalwe
November 26th 2013


8071 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice one Holiday.
Stunning album ripped off by many but bettered by few.

Slut
November 26th 2013


2469 Comments


probably one of my favorites in this genre, if not my favorite

minty901
November 26th 2013


1999 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

fuck yeeeeeah seeing these guys on thursday. shame they haven't put out anything extraordinary since this album. hopefully they play songs from it.

Wadlez
November 26th 2013


4048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yea, none of their other albums really have made me want to go back for repeated listens.

demigod!
November 26th 2013


44350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review. this album is stunning.

Like Herod and Mogwai Fear Satan are two of my favourite post-rock jams

Digging: Portishead - Dummy

zakalwe
November 26th 2013


8071 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm not having that Minty. Happy Songs and CODY are better than this. The Mog have done tunes like Helicon 1, My father my King, Superheroes of BMX which are unbelievable.
I'm only ranting cos I'm jealous your seeing them on Thursday.

minty901
November 26th 2013


1999 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i dont agree, but you're not wrong in that they have made great tunes. drunk and crazy is one of the best songs theyve done, as is sine wave and white noise. just no album comes close to this imo. im not that excited to be honest, partly because i only love one of their albums, and also partly because i saw sigur ros last week and i am certain nothing will come close to matching that experience. i may never need to go to another gig again.

zakalwe
November 26th 2013


8071 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Was Sigur Ros at Wembley? Bloke from where I work saw them and said they were phenomenal.
As for Mogwai saw them a few years ago when they released Mr Beast, they were great.

Geist
November 26th 2013


371 Comments


Good shit and excellent review. Keep writing.

minty901
November 26th 2013


1999 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i saw them at nottingham arena. i didnt think anything would ever top seeing mono in a cathedral last year but i think sigur ros may have managed it.

zakalwe
November 26th 2013


8071 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fairplay mate.

itchybutthole
November 26th 2013


2491 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is the best mogwai by far.the other albums doesnt even come close to this

Digging: Ricardo Villalobos - Vasco

Wadlez
November 26th 2013


4048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Other albums have lots of good tracks, but yes this is no doubt their best overall album.

Nikkolae
November 27th 2013


4847 Comments


has anybody ever read a Haruki Murakami book while having this as background noise? i think they meld tremendously well, especially 1Q84

Digging: Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden

DrGonzo1937
November 27th 2013


5661 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rules, agreed.

ZombicidalMan
November 27th 2013


1795 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Mogwai Fear Satan is still my all time favourite song to play on guitar. There's so much flexibility in how to use effects in the context of the song. When the flute part comes on, I usually grab my Ebow and turn the tone down on my guitar, so it sounds pretty close to the flute.

Even though it gets a lot of hate, Hardcore Will Never Die is my second favourite Mogwai after this

zakalwe
November 27th 2013


8071 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hardcore is great the only album that is a bit shit for me is Rock Action but even that is worth a listen.
Mogwai Fear Satan on guitar Zombi? m/

ZombicidalMan
November 27th 2013


1795 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Rano Pano is definitely in my top 5 Mogwai tracks. Love the fuzz on it

Yeah, such a god guitar song. Mogwai Fear Satan is also super easy, it's like three octave chords and some tremolo picking. If you've been playing for a month you can jam it in your room like a Norse God of post-rock



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