Mogwai - Les Revenants - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Mogwai - Les Revenants

by Steve Reynolds Rating:10 Release Date:2013-02-25

Words fail me as to how Mogwai have consistently delivered the goods album after album. They've been putting out post-rock noises since 1995 and have harnessed their early sounds with different focal points (check the guitar-heavy CODY to the cinematic, electronic sounds of Rock Action). In total, they have recorded eight albums along with the Zidane soundtrack back in 2006. Les Revenants beats a similar heart to the Zidane soundtrack and is from the French TV show of the same name, broadcast at the end of last year.

Right from the off, there is an unnerving air of coldness about this album; the immediate dark mood and intensity is personified by 'The Hungry Face'. The twinkling ivories and motoric drum-stick snap is overshadowed by a bellowing cello, which rises from the ashes as the layers build and build, all encapsulated by a clever use of minimalism, lack of elaboration and use of space.

As the albums have rolled by, the Mogwai sound has become broader, subtler and instantly recognisable; the use of the electronics to build a visual landscape along with just the right amount of piano has seen a semi seismic shift away from the powerful guitars delivered with such ear-splitting cacophony in their infancy years. 'The Huts' demonstrates this just perfectly and flows naturally on 'Kill Jester'.

I am not familiar with the eponymous programme but, after a bit of research, I discovered it's about a bunch of zombies taking over a small mountain town. Taking all this into account, I can see why Mogwai were given the nod to make the accompanying soundtrack as they epitomises what zombie films represent: Dark, dank, creepy and brooding - see 'This Messiah Needs Watching'. However, when you flick to 'Special N' a couple of tracks later, it sounds so bright and mellifluous, in such stark contrast, it surreally depicts the cavalry charging into town and putting the zombies to the sword.

'Relative Hysteria' is somewhat haunting in comparison, and Barry Burns' dark synth patterns and metallic xylophone are a master class in economic minimalism. 'Portugal', meanwhile, is a slice of plaintive noise juxtaposed just perfectly with an infectious, stately piano and a hypnotic set of strings. The album's closer, 'Wizard Motor', begins with a droning keyboard with just two notes shifting between each other, wrestling with a booming base drum for company.

Les Revenants is an incredibly rich and cerebral album; all you need to do is immerse yourself in it and let its fluidity coarse through your ears. It is a fantastic and faultless listen from start to finish, a kaleidoscopic masterpiece.

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