I think it's safe to say Mogwai have reached their twilight years, and that's not a bad thing. With the release of their eighth studio album, Rave Tapes, the five-piece post-rock band from Glasgow, Scotland, may have slowed down the dramatic crescendos, but there's still plenty of solid, mostly instrumental tracks to fog your head with.
Their last release was last year's soundtrack to Les Revenants, an oh-so-French take on the zombie apocalypse genre. That was Mogwai at their most orchestral, and there's some carry-over on this one. The album starts off with "Heard About You Last Night," the closest Mogwai has ever come to a cocktail lounge number. It's a good starter for an album the moves back and forth between melancholia and the equivalent of sonic thunderstorms.
"Remurdered" is a moody number helped out by generous amounts of synthesizer, and the Krautrock influence is inescapable. "Hexan Bogon" is almost the CliffsNotes version of Mogwai. It clocks in at under three minutes, with the band pulling out their best escalating-tension moves, which would normally fill up a 10-minute track.
The only dull moment to be found is at the halfway point. "Repelish" is another mercurial song that would otherwise be great mood music, but it's ruined by a cheesy spoken-word track on the evils of Led Zeppelin. "Deesh," however, picks up the slack. It's the most cinematic entry on the album, with a pulsating analog synth and warlike drums keeping a steady pace.