Released about a year ago, Mogwai’s seventh studio album had a bit of a lukewarm reception. I don’t think it isn’t an album of merit. It’s just a little schizophrenic in its approach- attempting a new direction whilst still keeping that Mogwai identity.
Album opener White Noise is perhaps a little gentle, but it gradually crescendoes into a flourish, laden with guitar fanfares. To me, it brings to mind train journeys into the city- gradually increasing dynamics as one travels deeper into the metropolis. It plays a little like a more polished version of previous album opener I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead.
I would argue that Mogwai’s strongest tracks are opener/closers- Consider Auto Rock & We’re No Here, Yes! I am a Long Way From Home & Mogwai Fear Satan. Unfortunately, HWNDBYW‘s opener is a bit lacking. It just never breaks out.
I first heard of Canadian artist The Weeknd [yes, it’s spelt without the third ‘e’] on twitter one night, seeing that ‘Dirty Diana’ was trending. So I went and had a listen to the guy’s cover of it, not knowing whether to expect a remix, cover or general mickey-take. I tripped over the ‘mixtape’ Echoes of Silence, offered free of charge.
The aforementioned cover opens a nine-track ‘mixtape’ as it is being referred to all over the internets. Certainly not a bad set of songs whatever you desire to call it. It’s a rollercoaster-cum-ghost train of a ride, via reverberating piano ballads, satanic frat parties and more than a pinch of the late Mr Jackson.
XO/The Host and Initiation exude dark like some kind of anti-lightbulb. Singer Abel Tesfaye’s voice is at odds juxtaposed against the dark, occasionally ethereal noises he’s produced but it somehow works. XO/The Host sparkles with a ghostly carousel organ, but for me Initiation really stands out. With Tesfaye’s words on hedonistic addiction twisted and vocoderised, it brings to mind an evil-dark approximation of N*E*R*D’s video forLapdance, shot with torches, dark corners and even darker deeds.
Conversely, Montreal has more of an 80s feel to it whilst the dial tones of Same Old Song bring to mind Mike Shinoda’s remix of Enjoy The Silence. There’s a definite amount of tonal variation on the album- you couldn’t accuse it of being ‘samey’ in the slightest.