I loved Mogwai’s new one, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will even more than I hated Let England Shake, landing, for the second day in a row, well out of the mainstream. This might be my favorite album so far this year, along with Skull Defekts Peer Amid and Psychic Paramount’s II. Perhaps I am writing for an audience of me, I don’t know, but in my review, up now at Blurt, I said:
With Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, Mogwai is again aggressively tweaking its formula in ways that will offend purists, but which may be necessary if this band is to continue to satisfy its own curiosity and requirements for growth. The album starts in a shimmer and haze, in light-filled, slow motion "White Noise" which might sound like classic Mogwai if it were not so much brighter. The guitar effects seem less like murk and turmoil, more like the blinding glare off surfaces in sun. There's a transparency here, a sense of space and separation that continues, particularly through the first half of the album. It winds through buzzing, droning, pitch-shifting "Mexican Grand Prix," as close to pop as Mogwai has ever been, and distortion-bleached, drum battered "Rano Pano," and translucently beautiful "Death Rays." Even "George Square Thatcher Death Party" which sounds very much in the fuzz-crusted, over-driven vein of "Batcat" and "Glasgow Megasnake", incorporates the wavery robotics of pitch shifted vocals that bring it back to pop. A sense of play and melody leavens the heaviness in this seventh Mogwai album, especially near the front end, and if that's not what you want out of the band, too bad, that's what they're doing now.