Monday, October 18, 2010

Album Review: Mogwai – Special Moves


This is Mogwai’s first live album, a recording of a gig in Brooklyn last year. It’s a very lavish package, with a live album, the Burning live DVD, and also downloads of additional material.

There’s a spread of material here from all their albums. The quality of the recording is very good, you can hear every scrape of guitar string even amidst the inevitable onslaught that comes in many of their songs. If anything, some of the tracks are even more embellished, I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead in particular benefits from additional keyboards. Later, Hunted By A Freak emerges as one of the strongest of the bunch. The roar of appreciation when its off kilter guitar picking starts up is quite something to behold for an instrumental!

The track Cody contains some slightly thin vocals from Stuart Braithwaite and is a little jarring. The other tracks draw from all Mogwai’s repertoire of talent, the slow-builders (Friend of the Night, I Love You, I’m Going To Blow Up Your School), the elephant-on-the-loose (Glasgow Megasnake), and the epic mindblower (Like Herod). For this last one especially it’s well worth watching the ‘Burning’ DVD (tastefully shot by Vincent Moon). When the sudden guitar assault comes mid-song the camera is on the crowd. You can feel their exhilaration as they simply scream and roar with a combination of fear and elation, which sums up Mogwai’s live experience.