Mogwai

The Hawk is Howling

Written by: MR on 12/09/2008 15:18:16

Let me start off by saying that I, as a brand new reviewer, never found great interest in bands such as Mogwai before. Bands with clever titles like "I'm Jim Morrison, I'm dead" or "I love you, I'm going to blow up your school" and bands who want to paint pictures and moods with the mere use of instruments. Bands without a singer bore me, as simple as that. I know that I'm being subjective here already, but it serves a deeper purpose as you will come to find. From what I've heard of Mogwai before I have come to find them pretty mellow as a band. I had expected more distortion than what is the case on this album. It's more symphonic than I could have imagined, more dreamy and much much better than I could have hoped. The songs are strong images, and the language that Mogwai speak is simply the language of music.

I've had my trouble with adjusting to the fact that there is no singer. For me, the songs blend in and I couldn't tell you which song is which and things like that. The album for me comes through as a one really, really long song, and I mean this in a positive way. As I've discovered that the band is telling a story, without saying a word; the structures and the melodies lead me far away. The thing is that Mogwai will spellbound you if they catch you in the right moment. You know how people always say that they listen to a certain kind of music all depending on their mood? This is a perfect example of an mood album: "The Hawk Is Howling" has been in my hands for approximately two weeks now, and every time I'm in this strange melancholic mood, I find my self listening to this record.

It is clear that Mogwai do things their own way. I would believe this band 100% if they said that they are making music for their own sake only. But that is also one of the few flaws I see in this album, it could have made the album even better if it sometimes didn't have the feeling of status quo in some of the songs. I am amazed by some of the chords being played on this album, but not all deserve a two minute playtime. Mogwai sets your patience at task and you will find yourself waiting for the climax for a pretty long time. Which is the weakness of this album and why I think a lot of people wouldn't find it as fascinating as I did. What Mogwai could do more in the future is fill in some more riffs. I'm pretty sure that they can cope that. It's been very very hard for me writing this review, parlty because I liked it, but also because Mogwai are soooo far away from what I usually listen to or search in music. I have been searching for the right words to describe my inner gut feeling about it, and hence I have on purpose left out to describe you passages of some of the songs. It's not fitting in this context, cinematic rock such as this will speak for itself. I would recommend you to buy the album but I also hope that I have prepared you in some way for what is to come. If you want the best experience, you need to lock yourself in a room because "The Hawk Is Howling" is best when you're alone with it.

In this case I find it hard to take objectivity as seriously as I should. Mogwai are simply not for everyone. You can not sing along, it's not catchy and you might forget about the music the next day. But if you are the patient type and wait for it, it might just be that Mogwai is painting pictures in your mind.

Download: "I'm Jim Morrison, I'm dead - I Love You, I'm going to blow up your school"
For the fans of: Sigur Ros
Listen: Myspace

Release date 22.09.2008
Play It Again Sam Records

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