Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

Although the most anticipated albums usually wait to the latter end of the year to be released, 2011 opened up with the release of the latest Mogwai LP, ‘Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will’. Mogwai is one of the most enduring examples of post-rock that is out there, and along with other acts like Explosions In The Sky, they have become the backbone of the scene. Like many of the most influential bands out there, Mogwai have had a central sound and style to them, but as time goes on, they have changed their direction up a bit. Mogwai’s latest effort is a somewhat scattered and eclectic, but strong addition to the saga of this band.

Although my initial discovery of post-rock some years ago saw me getting very excited about some of the music in this genre, I would say that my appreciation and enjoyment of what post-rock generally has to offer has dwindled, since becoming wise to the fact that despite it being a style of music that is considered even ‘experimental’ in the eyes of the mainstream press, far too many bands hack the tricks of others, and the music only rarely challenges me as a listener. These things could be said about Mogwai and the music on this newest album, but then again, Mogwai was one of the bands that most bands after would take a note or two from, so for that much, they are excused. ‘Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will’ is still very much post-rock, but coming as something of a surprise to me, there is a direction and sense of songwriting here that is a farther cry from the longwinded ebbs and flows, and tremolo ambiance that post-rock usually delivers. Although not entirely to-the- point, Mogwai does appear to be trimming alot of the fat off, in order to create more of a payoff with less time investment and patience on the listeners part. Instead of a gradual and slow build up, Mogwai now takes little time to get to the central idea of their song, and many of the tracks here generally only have one mood going for them.

This seems to be a switch-off or equal exchange of pros and cons, rather than a total improvement. While it is great for post-rock and Mogwai to be recognizing that certain aspects of their writing and sound can become- dare I say- boring at times, there is decidedly less satisfaction that comes from a climax when it is thrown at you after only a few seconds of waiting. While it makes the music considerably more accessible, there is more enjoyment I have here than with most of your more typical post-rock, which I usually do not have the patience for to get into properly. On top of the mostly instrumental music that the band does, there are even some vocals here, which I may have been a little skeptical about, but they work brilliantly here. Instead of a clear voice, the vocal tone is muffled and spaced out, giving a near-shoegaze impression from it. Used more or less as an instrument like the others, the voice contributes greatly to the handful of moments on the album it can be heard on. I can only hope that Mogwai decide to pursue the use of ambient vocals more in future projects.

‘Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will’ is a sign to me that the realm of post-rock is finally opting to change up its pace in order to prevent an otherwise inevitable extinction, and like they are prone to do, I am sure Mogwai’s more concise sound here will influence other bands to do the same. The album here feels somewhat scattered, but there are great ideas here and the fact that Mogwai has reinvented themselves here makes the album notable and interesting, even for someone who does not necessarily appreciate the sounds of the genre anymore.


1. White Noise (5:04)
2. Mexican Grand Prix (5:18)
3. Rano Pano (5:15)
4. Death Rays (6:01)
5. San Pedro (3:27)
6. Letters to the Metro (4:41)
7. George Square Thatcher Death Party (4:00)
8. How to Be a Werewolf (6:23)
9. Too Raging to Cheers (4:30)
10. You’re Lionel Richie (8:29)


* Dominic Aitchison – bass
* Stuart Braithwaite – guitar
* Martin Bulloch – drums
* Barry Burns – guitar & keyboard
* John Cummings – guitar


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