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Album Review: Rave Tapes by Mogwai



Scottish post-rock group Mogwai have returned with their eighth studio album, Rave Tapes.  Unlike the title suggests, the band puts forth an album filled with soft yet powerful instrumentation, creating its own atmosphere of sound.

If Rave Tapes puts its focus on anything, it’s layers.  Straight from the beginning, the album’s opener “Heard About You Last Night” begins with a slightly percussive intro, setting the tone for what’s to come.  The rhythm is quickly overtaken by the guitar melody and the building ambient background.  While this formula can be seen on many of the album’s songs, each one gives it its own unique twist.

“Remurdered”, the highlight of the album, is a perfect blend of traditional post-rock style and new electronic elements.  Synthesizers create the focal point of the song, while the drums and guitars drive the force until the track finally lets up in the end, instruments dropping out one by one, leaving the melody to dance around in the listener’s ear.

While Mogwai leaves Rave Tapes heavily instrumental, they choose to experiment with vocals a couple of times.  The first of which is “Repelish”, features a lasting drone style instrumentation underlying an audio recording of a man discussing the infamous Satanic reference in Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”.  Although the music provides an excellent background for the monologue, the song itself gives the impression of an idea not fully fleshed out, but merely thrown into the middle of the album.

“The Lord is Out of Control”, however, uses soft, effected vocals to create an eerie atmosphere.  A synthesizer plays the part of a church organ in the opening to the track, before continuing to do what Rave Tapes does best: builds into an amalgam of sounds that sweeps through the listener throughout the entire song before placing them safely back onto their feet.

Find out more about the band their albums on their website.

Listen to the album on Spotify.