January 8, 2011

Song Review: Mogwai's "Mexican Grand Prix"


It has got to be tough making a career out of being a post-rock band. Nearly every young act to enter the scene since Explosions In the Sky helped emo kids grow up with their Friday Nights Lights soundtrack seems to be doing nothing new except their best impersonation of the Austin noisemakers. However, something very different has been happening for quite some time in Glasgow, Scotland where that other group of modern post-rockers has escaped becoming a cliché. Mogwai are readying their 7th studio album, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, and the track "Mexican Grand Prix" is an assuring indication that you won't have to put post-rock on life support any time soon. The five-minute plus cut kick starts with a steady trickle of electronic blips and bleeps amid a synthesized organ, a far cry away from the norm of over-dramatic guitars you'd usually hear in a post-rock band. Most interesting about "Mexican Grand Prix," though, are the song's vocal arrangements. Many modern post-rock acts have gotten into the bad habit of leaving out words and keeping their music instrumental, which can at times rob the songs of emotional depth -- a pretty important aspect of the post-rock sound. Mogwai uses words occasionally throughout their music and in this occasion, you'll be glad they did. Stuart Braithwaite's voice evolves through various forms of haunting whispers and strange robotics that make "Mexican Grand Prix" sound nothing short of a cold, atmospheric space odyssey. That's one small step for Mogwai and one giant leap for post-rock.

Mogwai - "Mexican Grand Prix"

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