Mogwai - Rock Action

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2001-04-30

Rock Action, the third full-length album from experimental noise outfit Mogwai, is a sort of compromise; it's out with harsh walls of feedback and allusions to Glaswegian gang warfare, and in with banjos, trombones, electronics, and--for the first significant time on a Mogwai release proper--vocals, from the band's Stuart Braithwaite. At 38 minutes, Rock Action is surprisingly brief--it boasts a mere eight songs, two of which are pretty perfunctory bursts of noise: the Kid 606-style electronic distortion of "Sine Wave" and the molten industrial racket of "Robot Chant". But what's here is likeable; "Take Me Somewhere Nice" features guitar and backing vocals from ex-Slint guitarist and Papa M man David Pajo, while Gruff Rhys of Welsh psychedelists Super Furry Animals turns in a haunted Welsh-language lyric on "Dial: Revenge". While Mogwai's razor edge is sorely missed, Rock Action is a compromise only to the inevitable effects of musical evolution. They haven't lost a thing. -- Louis Pattison

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