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REVIEW: Mogwai - Rave Tapes

REVIEW: Mogwai - Rave Tapes


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It has been said that heavy use of synthesizers in songs, and used over and over again, implies that the artists rely too much on technology to create their sound and have tenuously narrow mellifluous artistry. This is not so with Mogwai. Although the band does use synthesizers in most of their tracks on Rave Tapes, which dropped January 20th, it's not overwhelming or dependant on the style as extensively as Ulan Bator, Sigur Rós, and Owl City. Rave Tapes is streamlined and the production, from track one to track ten is synced beautifully.

Mogwai, (named after the little creatures in the 1984 movie Gremlins) out of Glasgow has been making music since 1995 with the same solid line-up, save for one former member who left the band in 1997. Their first album, Mogwai Young Team, released in October of 1997, hit number 75 on the UK Album Chart. That was just the beginning of a long career of albums Mogwai would put out and chart over the next 17 years.

Rave Tapes opens with the lullaby-like "Heard About You Last Night," and from there they dig into some deep metaphors. "Remurdered," the first single dropped from the album, methodically comes in, warming the listener up for the cacophony of sounds; and when the listener is just getting into the groove, it settles down to just clean beats, synths, beats, synths, and it then works itself up once again. This track could lend itself to a spy thriller, or a man escaping a dangerous situation. Halfway through the song the synthesizers really pick up, piloting the drumbeats into a solid modulation. The man who escaped needs to run faster; and the listener's heart begins beating quickly. At 6:25, this track will have you enjoying what Mogwai has to offer in their musical arsenal. Listen around the five-minute mark when the tone darkens for a few brief moments, blurring the line of what is happening in the music and in your head as you hear it. It is a great effect and works well with the song. The synth takes us right to the end, and the man gets away.

On track four, Hexon Bogon, the wailing of the guitars is showcased much more, giving it a more pronounced "rock and roll" flare compared to the previous tracks. It reminded this chick more of an electro-rock style than post-rock; but the tune gives decent guitar solos and slick drumbeats. Both guitar and drums are authentic, played by John Cummings and Martin Bulloch, respectively. The listener, on Hexon Bogon, will have a choice now; it will be a distinct balance of being on the verge of hearing the rest of the album, or shutting it off. Don't shut it off.

Repelish, a spoken word track, is rather interesting, and something you may not want to miss. The piano on Blues Hour, played by Barry Burns, is sweet and emotional. Rave Tapes, for the Mogwai fan, is a must. For the newer listener, it's a great addition to your music catalog. It is something unique, something universal, and most definitely it is eclectic. And electric! And who doesn't love a little buzz with their tunes?


JennaLuna has been writing since she could hold a pencil. She was raised on great music thanks to her big brother, who she lost on her birthday in 2012. It was that tragedy that got Jenna back to living the life she's always wanted; writing about music. Her favorite band is Beatles, her idol is John Lennon; she's also a novelist, an animal advocate, a java addict, & loves talking music & rabbits--yes, rabbits! Hit her up on Twitter @jennaluna-iys or check out her blog www.jennalunaverse.com.

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