Mogwai, Rave Tapes

It takes a special kind of musical talent to write and release even one album of almost exclusively instrumental music without boring everyone to tears.

That this is Glasgow-based Mogwai’s eighth record of, mostly, sans-vocals music is in itself testament to their obvious genius.

And, once again, they’ve struck gold.

Sure, you know what to expect and really, there are no major surprises here.

But quite how they manage to stun, when you pretty much know what’s coming, is remarkable.

If there’s anything that makes this record stand out at first listen, it’s a lack of anything much longer than six minutes.

One thing that that’s always stood out on Mogwai albums is that gorgeous bass guitar sound.

Live, it’s overwhelmingly loud and an all-out assault on the senses.

On record though, it rumbles gently through the speakers, full of texture and dripping in bassy goodness.

This is most evident on Simon Ferocious, where the bassline beautifully holds together a spacey ramble that threatens to explode in a trademark Mogwai finish, but never gets there … and it’s all the better for it.

Stunning simply doesn’t do it justice.

Remurder comes across like a lost, remixed Depeche Mode classic – synth-fuelled and dark as hell. It could be the soundtrack to one of those awesome early 90s adventure video games.

The closest thing to a “normal” song on this brilliant album is Master Card which, like so many Mogwai classics down the years, seems to be begging for a vocal line.

But, once again, it’s so engrossing as to soon make you forget all about the fact this is an instrumental.

Blues Hour begins gently and rises to a massive crescendo before falling back into that beautifully understated state of bliss.

That’s what Mogwai do best, right?

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