Mogwai – Les Revenants
Mogwai's soundtrack for French zombie TV show Les Revenants is an exercise in wilful self-control and restraint, with their customary feedback-driven walls of guitar noise de-emphasised in favour of delicate instrumentation built from piano and organ, strings, washed-out synth tones, glockenspiel and softly-brushed drums. The result is almost painfully beautiful, with descending minor-chord melodies dominating, lending the whole suite a tragic, elegiac tone that no doubt suits the source material.
No doubt influenced by the glacial majesty of Clint Mansell's soundtrack work, and the abstract percussive experiments of Jonny Greenwood's scores for Paul Thomas Anderson, it's a classy affair that will appeal far beyond Mogwai's traditional post-rock fanbase, and in many ways is their most well-rounded release in years, if lacking some of the ambition and originality in their best-known works.
Perhaps a few more brutal crescendoes would have made this more familiar territory for the band, but the delicate nature of the composition makes Les Revenants an experience of poised, fragile beauty. [Bram E. Gieben]