Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

by Hiro Master Rating:9 Release Date:2011-02-14

The question most likely to be asked with post-rock legends Mogwai's seventh album, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, won't be, is it any good, as the answer is inevitably yes. Mogwai have shown with past albums that they will consistently create something better than most every time. Instead the question will be the same question that always surfaces when Mogwai release an album - is it as good as Mogwai Young Team? That album, the band's debut, established the band as post-rock pioneers. Since then, with every new Mogwai release there are calls of either a return to, or departure from Young Team. But this time it seems that Mogwai themselves are at least subconsciously trying to recreate something of their first effort by working with Paul Savage, who recorded Young Team back in 1997.

But that was over 10 years ago, and post-rock has changed. It certainly got stuck in a difficult place for a while. Similar to the musical genre that Mogwai's latest release references, you get a genre that's so tightly defined it's difficult for bands to progress. The loud/quiet dynamics don't give you tingles like they used to, and the minor key sounds less atmospheric and more dreary. While once Mogwai were heralded as breathing new life into the genre, they eventually fell into the same trap.

But post-rock has developed. Bands have found the major key and a faster beat. Whilst Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will isn't revolutionary, it is a thoroughly 2011 post-rock sound. This may disappoint some fans who still love the classic sound. The delicate guitar melodies take second place to the driving drums and keyboard on most tracks. Electronic vocals make an appearance on tracks such as 'Mexican Grand Prix' and 'George Square Thatcher Death Party'.

Some tracks still resemble the classic post-rock style. 'How to Be a Werewolf', apart from the major key and upbeat tempo, is classic post-rock really; building slowly with guitar melodies. Meanwhile 'Too Raging to Cheers' is dark and brooding and 'Letters to the Metro' has a slower beat, but there is no denying that the lack of delicate guitar melodies changes their sound. The highlight is 'Rano Pano' which, with heavy guitar feedback but a discernable melody, manages to blend both old and new styles.

So the million dollar question: Is it as good as Mogwai Young Team? Probably not, but that doesn't mean that it's not thoroughly enjoyable. This is a well-crafted album and the sound of a band that knows what they are doing. It's just missing a few tingly moments.

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