Released: 20 January 2014 ( Rock Action)
By: Josh Hughes
Well, here’s an appropriate first album for me to do on a website called Ravedeaf. Mogwai’s first release since “Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will”, Rave Tapes is a relatively repetitive record that in which we find the classic post-rock group beginning to embrace modern, electronic sounds into their work.
Over the years I’ve come to expect icy, meditative drawn out pieces from Mogwai; HWNDBYW is an amazing road trip album that dynamically shifts all over the place in a (nicely) frantic way. However, Rave Tapes cuts out that overall feel from the album and replaces it with krautrock-like grooves centered on synthesizers and their iconic powerfully melodic guitar lines. Opener “Heard About You Last Night”, and singles “God is Out Of Control” and “Remurdered” are the most immediately memorable of the batch, though each song is quick to grow in your head. However, the emotional impact of songs like “Auto Rock” are harder to find (save “God Is Out Of Control”), and are replaced with songs that stay in one place sonically throughout its entirety. “Repelish” is Mogwai at their best musicianship, though its cut by a spoken word sample of someone explaining the secret satanic meaning behind “Stairway to Heaven, and, while I can appreciate the quirkiness of that bit, it takes away the song’s monumentally slow build up. “God Is Out Of Control”, on the other hand, is one of the most memorable songs I’ve heard in the wake of 2014- between its heart-wrenching chord changes to its post-Daft Punk vocoder infused vocals to its electronic snare pacing the whole song. As a closing track, it fully presents a lot of the themes elsewhere on the album, but fleshing them out even more. “Blues Hour” is another welcome addition to Mogwai’s repertoire, briefly going back to that late night, driving through the desert road trip feel that so much of their music evokes.
I can’t help but feel that some elements of “Rave Tapes” are a little too underwhelming; I want to hear some brash drums and heavier guitar licks every now and then, but overall, it’s a fairly consistent album that’s really good at showing Mogwai’s restraint. I always try not to compare artist’s releases too much to their last, but I still feel there’s a small lack of depth that was present on “HWNDBYW”. That said, it’s a great album to maybe open up a new chapter in their sprawling career.
Favorite Tracks: “God Is Out of Control”, “Blues Hour”, “Remurdered”, “Heard About You Last Night”
Rating: Like It