Sunday, February 28, 2010

Album Review: Mogwai – Happy Songs for Happy People

Typically ironic title for Mogwai’s 2003 album, though it finds them a lot cheerier than usual. The album is one of their more accessible albums, with relatively few noisy bits and shorter songs for the most part. Hunted by a Freak fades in with a wonderful guitar melody. Immediately upon putting this track on, your surroundings will get a little darker, the sun will go behind the clouds, and the lights will dim. Moses? I Amn’t? is more like a short atmospheric interlude, before next track, Kids Will Be Skeletons, which is a very gentle track. It’s reminiscent of the Cure, particularly Disintegration-era (ie it plods along pleasantly).

Killing All the Flies has a loping guitar figure, with brief noise burst in the middle, while vocal track Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep is almost zen-like in its calm pace. Ratts of the Capital is the requisite multi-layered epic at eight minutes long and features a great middle section of heavy guitars before they drop off towards the end of the track. Mogwai have an excellent grasp of dynamics, and this song is a prime example.

After the Sigur Ros like Golden Porsche, which features violins, and the electronica-tinged I Know You Are But What Am I?, the album concludes with Stop Coming To My House, a sort of so-so track featuring the violins, guitars, electronics and the kitchen sink.

All in all, it’s not a major departure for Mogwai but another album which takes its time to reveal itself, and rewards in equal measure when it does.