Mogwai seldom do much wrong when it comes to their LPs. You’d be pretty hard-pressed to find a dud amongst their previous five studio albums (or six, if you include the Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait soundtrack) but the band are hardly prone to deviating too far from their own, massively influential blueprint. Buy it here.
Following on from the 2006’s Mr Beast, The Hawk Is Howling does however feel like a more sedate, contemplative affair, and despite the thunderous riffology of single ‘Batcat’, many of this album’s most memorable moments arise during quieter passages: ‘Danphe And The Brain’ soars majestically, buoyed on by carefully intertwined guitars, classic Mogwai melodic developments and a dash of electronic upholstery, while ‘Local Authority’ is propelled by brooding, barely restrained emotional intensity. Midway through the album ‘The Sun Smells Too Loud’ makes a move into bright, effervescent electronic tones, marking a shortlived turn towards more upbeat sounds. The two closing pieces on the album present a strong showing too, bringing forth the slow motion space rock of ‘Thank You Space Expert’ before a final, metallic parting shot in the form of ‘The Precipice’ reminds us that this is a band who know how to give your eardrums a workout. Very good indeed. VIA