Mogwai – Rave Tapes

Album Review by Chris Buckle | 07 Jan 2014
Album title: Rave Tapes
Artist: Mogwai
Label: Rock Action
Release date: 20 Jan

If Mogwai were a movie, they’d probably be a horror movie. A sense of dread has long stalked the band’s discography, from The Exorcist-referencing artwork of CODY to the werewolves, vampires and skeletons that lurk amidst their irreverent song titles.

Last year the connection tightened with their inspired score for zombie drama Les Revenants – a subtle collection pregnant with menace and melancholia. Now, the band’s on-going appreciation of John Carpenter manifests itself in prominent, unsettling synths, making Rave Tapes one of their most haunting albums yet.

The creeping electronics of Remurdered sound particularly indebted to the aforementioned horror auteur (with secondary shades of label-mates/friends Errors), while the relentless sci-fi pulse underpinning Deesh adds a sinister edge to the track’s crescendo. Elsewhere, Mogwai’s familiar strengths are present and correct, with Master Card boasting big, choppy guitars and Blues Hour building into heavenly walls of noise before masterfully dropping the decibels (a trademark dynamic yet to lose its visceral impact).

From the brooding, ragged glory of Simon Ferocious to the sad calm suggested by The Lord is Out of Control’s electrostatic percussion and processed vocals, Rave Tapes is filled with expert contrasts, making this a pulse-quickening return from a band that’s still evolving, and still amazing. 

Mogwai play Bridgewater Hall, Manchester on 27 Jan; Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow on 28 Jan and The Usher Hall, Edinburgh on 8 Mar.