Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
New Mogwai was out on February 15. It’s called Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, which is, of course, one of the best album titles ever. Mogwai have been around for what seems like forever now, and they’ve cemented their reputation as the godfathers, or kings, or post-rock. But on their last two albums, Mr. Beast and The Hawk Is Howling, the muse had seemed to vanish, and what was once a great formula had become a bit of lethargic shtick. If not a return to form, it’s a return to life, something new, or something exciting. And boy oh boy, does Hardcore deliver.
This is a Mogwai album for fans and new acolytes both. The album is at once their most accessible and challenging. It meanders, it rocks, it peaks and dips and chugs forward, sometimes during the same song. To the untrained ear, some of these songs may seem to go nowhere at all, but with repeated listens, the melodies unfold, and you realize how bone crushingly beautiful and absolutely metal this album truly is. This is rock music for 2011, with a glance back over their shoulder at the past by an epic band attempting to leapfrog over their successes and do something completely different. And while it isn’t groundbreaking in any next ten years of the new millennium kind of way, it is at once exciting, exhilarating and breathtakingly lovely.
Standout tracks are the opener “White Noise,” with its subtle guitar refrain that worms its way into your head in a sweet and insidious way, “Mexican Grand Prix,” which sounds like something Neu would be doing if Neu were still Neu, “Letters To The Metro,” their most beautiful song since “2 Rights Make One Wrong” from way back in the Rock Action days, and “George Square Thatcher Death Party,” a pure guitar pop track with a hook that you’ll never tire of waking up to, since you’ll not be able to get it out of your mind. The last two songs, “Too Raging To Cheers” and “You’re Lionel Richie” (the latter clocking in at the album’s longest track at eight and a half minutes long), are an encapsulation of everything Mogwai up to this point. Hardcore and utterly, utterly epic.
This is an album to get. It’s not an album that fits into any one season, but since winter’s still here in most places, it’ll fit here for now. And when the days start to warm up even more, it’ll fit into spring too. It’s an album to savor, to grow on, and to ultimately love. Check it out.