One of the lesser-known bands under the post-rock genre, Mogwai has recently released their eighth LP, Rave Tapes. Perhaps unlikely to garner many new fans unfamiliar with their experimental tastes, the album is a testament to the band’s evolution into a progressively more electronic sound—and the synths serve them well.
The opening track, “Heard About You Last Night,” gradually eases listeners into the album with chimey synths dotted over more familiar guitar riffs. The real standouts from the album are “Remurdered” and “No Medicine for Regret,” each heavily adorned with catchy motifs. Easily the most memorable song on the album, “Remurdered” would make the perfect backing to a 1980s sci-fi film, with the real action coming into play halfway through this lengthy six-minute track.
While the spoken-word track “Repelish” might not be music to all ears, it features a dialogue on the Satanic implications behind Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” backed by instrumentation that drones along with the speaker.
Although Mogwai is known for their slow-burning progressions, they’ve evidently also burned out by their last song, “The Lord is Out of Control.” At times, vocoded vocals fade in and out of the electronic backing, making it unremarkable and yet too robotic and unnatural to be ignored.
It’s clear that even after 19 years, Mogwai is still true to its experimental roots, incorporating new elements and reinventing older material, with Rave Tapes happening to strike a balance between the two.