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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mogwai

Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (Sub Pop)

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Mogwai is post-rock. Mogwai is drone-rock. Mogwai is space-rock. Mogwai is quiet, melodic and beautiful. Mogwai is the loudest thing known to man.

On the opening track, "White Noise," Mogwai is reminiscent of King Crimson's interlocking rhythmic work, something new for the group, for about five seconds before settling into the more familiar thick layering of guitars and synths that builds to a squeal by song's end. "Mexican Grand Prix" is a highly polished mash-up of Sonic Youth and Neu! Album closer "You're Lionel Richie" is pure, ear-shattering sludge-rock. Then Mogwai, rather successfully, goes minimalistic with the 23-minute, one-track bonus disc, "Music for a Forgotten Future (The Singing Mountain)," composed for an art installation in Germany by Douglas Gordon and Olaf Nicolai.

Like all of Mogwai's material, this is an album best heard through headphones or in a live setting, tiny nuances in the tone and instrumentation peeking through the slow-burn droning only when one's forced to listen for them. Fifteen-plus years into the group's career, Mogwai has nearly tried it all. With Hardcore Will Never Die, the group has been able to create a few surprises by crossbreeding the many, occasionally contradictory styles into new forms.