I’ll always have a soft spot for bands that make singles without lyrics. Especially in Stuart Braithwaite’s case, it’s not for lack of opinion. From selling “Blur Are Shite” shirts to flattering comparisons to Radiohead, perhaps the best way to get noticed is by staying relevant through music. Glasgow’s Mogwai have been around since 1995, which makes them ancients in terms of charts. They’re typically compared to Low, My Bloody Valentine, and Slint, sometimes borrowing a vocalist or producer; though, I’ve heard more bands sounding like Mogwai lately than any of these in particular.
Like Sonic Youth, Mogwai has made transitions through many styles, always with their own sound, and they’ve been around long enough to influence and be influenced. So by “sounding like Mogwai,” I mean less synthpop a la Cut Copy or Crystal Castles, and more instrumentalist, like Explosions in the Sky or Joy Wants Eternity. With Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (to be released February 15), their style is commencing into something unique and forward, taking edgy structure and technology and pairing it with frank emotional appeal.
If Hardcore Will Never Die makes it to the “tastemakers” chart (as their last full length did) they must still be having fun. And this album sounds more fun, picking up electronic beats without losing the distortion-heavy dynamics of earlier albums. Introductions with sad piano melodies I won’t miss, for instance. Acclaimed as they were, 1997′s Young Team was a lot of that, and 2001′s Rock Action was… well, if I can’t say anything nice, I won’t say anything at all. On their latest release, the band seems to have kept up with the pulse of synthpop without losing their agro-cryptic loveliness.