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The Hawk Is Howling

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iTunes Review

Mogwai's sixth studio album gushes with the same kind of epically atmospheric instrumental juggernauts that characterized their late 1990's works and finds them reunited (for the first time in ten years) with Andy Miller, the producer who initially helped bring their colossal post rock soundscapes to the U.K. festival-attending masses. The humorously titled "I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead" sets the tone with scant piano notes and moody synthesizer drones that build by blanketing other instruments and textures in perpetual crescendos, spiraling continuously upward until the composition climaxes with walls of sound that end abruptly with a single guitar feeding back. "Batcat" subtly contrasts this by flirting with heavy metal guitar solos and pummeling hard rock rhythms. Mogwai shift gears again on "The Sun Smells Too Loud," which is so tuneful and catchy, it almost begs for some vocals until a fuzzy guitar line comes in and "sings" the melody before getting upstaged by some beautifully harmonizing keyboards. Ending the album with "The Precipice" is like stepping in an electric guitar hive and getting inundated with layers of buzzing solos.

Customer Reviews

mogwai have set the bar even higher

there are the waning months before your favorite band releases a new album where the anticipation is coupled with a fear that it might not live up to your expectations and hopes... mogwai have smashed that glimmer of doubt with their most gorgeous album yet. the hawk is howling is massive... it sounds even more expansive than young team... each album of theirs has it's own quality and this just feels huge.. musicially - it changes so subtley between strange chords and rhythmic meters it's mesmerizing, all the while maintaining mogwai's trademark cynicism and sense of nihilistic dread. it's hard to say which stand out - all are amazing... there's not a single lyric on the album but it conveys way more than any other record i've heard this year. buy this album now.

The Hawk is Howling

Great music. Just wish they knew a hawk from an Eagle. Oh well, they are Scots, don't cha know. Sav

Mogwai return to form

Mogwai have been making music for more than 10 years now and their name is somewhat legendary as post-rock heroes. With their tumultuous “Young Team” that was just reissued they made an epic album defining their style of music. They followed it with the restrained “Come on Die Young” and returned with the ironically titled albums “Rock Action” and “Happy Songs for Happy People”. In 2005 they reunited with the producer of “Young Team” for the aptly titled “Mr. Beast”. The latest release and latest in bizarre titles “The Hawk is Howling” follows the same formula as “Mr. Beast”. A slow piano opener “I’m Jim Morrison I’m dead” similar to “Auto Rock” from “Mr. Beast”. This progression goes throughout the album including the heavy rock song “Batcat” whose partner on Mr. Beast is “Glasgow Mega-Snake.” It seems odd for a band as talented and amazing to follow the same formula. Even odder, the album stretches Mogwai’s reach with a happy song entitled “The Sun Smells to Loud.” On “Scotland’s Shame,” Mogwai laments beautifully for most likely a football match loss, given their predilections. The album reaches a spectacular conclusion with “The Precipice” that is close enough in mood and power to be cousins with “We’re No Here.” Despite the similarities in the construction of the last two albums Mogwai has changed, even from the last album. Gone are the noisy interruptions, the snippets of conversations, and tinny recordings. Now they have fully layered crystal clear recordings that demonstrate their genius. The only lament for anyone who has been privy enough to see the band live is the absolute sonic experience it is. It is an unreasonable expectation to expect Mogwai’s studio recordings to be anything like their live performances, it just means you have to spend some money on better speakers.


Formed: 1996 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The cosmic post-rock band Mogwai was formed in Glasgow, Scotland in 1996 by guitarist/vocalist Stuart Braithwaite, guitarist Dominic Aitchison, and drummer Martin Bulloch, longtime friends with the goal of creating "serious guitar music." Toward that end, they added another guitarist, John Cummings, before debuting in March 1996 with the single "Tuner," a rarity in the Mogwai discography for its prominent vocals; the follow-up, a split single with Dweeb titled "Angels vs. Aliens," landed in the Top...
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